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5S Implementation System

Companies have used the 5S System across a wide variety of industries to increase their productivity. At the heart of the 5S System are two simple, yet profound, premises:

  • Workers produce more in clean, orderly work environments.
  • Making order and cleanliness permanent, rather than temporary, conditions (and in 5S terms, creating unbreakable order and cleanliness) requires basic changes in the perspectives, expectations, and work habits of many employees.

Effectively implementing the 5S System demands nothing less than triggering basic changes in employee behavior and, further, transforming these new behaviors into habitual behaviors. Workforce Solutions can provide a wide variety of training, communication, measurement, and performance reinforcement tools that will help transform the way employees see their workspace and the way they operate within it, optimizing the impact of the 5S System.

Workforce Solutions uses the following process in guiding clients through the implementation of each phase of the 5S System.

SCAN: A team of workers does an evaluation of the degree to which their work environment matches the 5S System criteria, using the Workplace Scan Diagnostic Checklist. In addition, the team creates a Workplace Scan Display and mounts the display in their work area. The display includes results of the workplace scan, before photos, and 5S System Implementation Timeline.

The goal: To define benchmarks against which progress in implementing the 5S System can be measured.

SORT: A team of workers evaluates all items found in a work environment and “red-tags” those items that are not needed to meet specific, immediate needs. These “red-tagged” items are moved to a holding area where they will be later subjected to a rigorous evaluation of whether or not they are, in fact, needed. Items that are not needed are sold or discarded.

The goal: To create a very lean, sustainable work environment.

STORE: Following “Sort,” all items identified as absolutely necessary are stored in a way that minimizes motion waste when using them. In addition, new signage, scoreboards, communications boards, procedures boards, floor stripping, labels, table markings, and other visual identifiers of workflow are used to support motion economy.

The goal: To make it possible for anyone to find anything, anytime and to optimize worker motion.

SHINE: During “Shine,” the work area is cleaned inside and out, top to bottom. Dirt, grime, and dust are removed from the work area. In addition, the “Five-Minute Shine” practice is instituted to make sure that cleanliness is maintained.

The goal: To transform the work environment to a permanent “like new” condition and to keep it that way.

STANDARDIZE: This phase of the 5S System implementation involves defining how the work team is going to sustain Sort, Store, and Shine. Specific 5S job responsibilities are defined and schedules for carrying out these responsibilities are developed, integrating these responsibilities fully into regular work duties.

The goal: To define work processes which support unbreakable order and cleanliness.

SUSTAIN: The 5S System can only be sustained if old work habits are broken and new work processes become habitual. Breaking old habits takes conscious, sustained effort. In the Sustain phase, communications, training, performance monitoring, and performance reinforcement initiatives are used to create the unbreakable work habits that are required if the 5S System is to deliver a maximum ROI.

The goal: To create a knowledgeable, energized workforce with zero tolerance for dirt or disorder

After initial 5S implementation, the Sort, Store, Shine, and Standardize phases continue indefinitely, becoming totally integrated into ongoing work processes.