Lean Practices for Products & Services Based Industry

 If followed closely with dedication, discipline, and rigour, it will transform your workplace
into an efficient and pleasant environment.

Are you looking at implementing Lean Principles within your organisation?

You need to start with 5S as a foundation to support the other principles and create the discipline to ensure they can be sustained.

“If you can do 5S, you can do anything. The company that can do well with the 5S’s can also do well with all the other principles. The company that cannot even implement the basic 5S’s, will not be able to do any of the other things required of a competitive organisation.”

Takashi Osada

5S OVERVIEW: From Chaos to World Class

This overview is structured to provide a logical step-by-step guideline to implement 5S (Sort, Shine, Set, Standardise, Sustain) in any work area. It is based on extensive experience of many organisations, different cultures and different work environments. If followed closely with dedication, discipline, and rigour, it will transform your workplace into an efficient and pleasant environment.

It is based on the following logical process to move from Stage 1: Chaos, to Stage 5: Sustain and Improve.

Stage 1: Chaos

Before the implementation of 5S, the workplace is cluttered with dirt and unnecessary items and nothing is stored in designated places. As a result, workers have no pride, a great deal of time is wasted searching for items, safety is a major problem and morale is low. Superficial clean and paint exercises are only done before important visits or safety audits.

Stage 2: Clear-up

During this stage, the organisation is made aware of the principles and benefits of 5S. A 5S implementation plan is drawn up and launched with management leading by example. A clear-up exercise is performed in choice to get rid of all the unnecessary items and to remove obvious dirt and dust. Standards for unnecessary items are defined and put in place.

Note:  This stage should be completed quickly (typically in less than 6 months) to ensure a sense of urgency and maintain momentum.

Stage 3: Cleaning with Meaning

During this stage, the initial superficial cleaning is replaced by a systematic and deep cleaning of the workplace. Cleaning schedules are developed and implemented, while sources of contamination and difficult-to-clean areas are eliminated. It is, however, cleaning with meaning — while people are cleaning, they are also inspecting the area for problems such as leaks, missing items, hazards or damaged equipment, which are reported and fixed as soon as possible. 5S audits are introduced to ensure ownership and accountability within the work teams.

Stage 4: Locations and Limits

This stage is aimed at entrenching the third S — Set in order. Storage locations are defined and clearly marked for all needed items. Painted demarcations, signboards, labels, shadow boards and colour-coding are used extensively as per visual storage standards

Stage 5: Sustain and Improve

Stage 5 is not a destination but rather a state of mind where 5S is continuously refined and improved while promotions and competitions are used to sustain the focus and momentum of 5S. This is a never-ending process where 5S becomes a way of life.