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5S Methodology in Work Environment

What is 5S?

5S is a total productive maintenance methodology that increases quality and efficiency in the work environment. The concept originated in Japan in the 1950s based on five basic principles starting with the letter S.: seiri, seiton, seisō, seiketsu, and shitsuke. The five S’s are translated into English as “Sort”, “Set In order”, “Shine”, “Standardize” and “Sustain”.

5S can be applied to all industries and work environments. The aim of the 5S methodology is creating more organized, ergonomic, safe, clean and efficient workplaces. Implementation of this methodology leads to reducing costs, increasing productivity, minimizing loss and waste, and increasing work safety and motivation.

Seiri 整理 (Sort)

It is the regular removal of materials, equipment and tools that are not needed in the work area.

Performing the sorting step is very important for the other steps to be effective. Removal of unnecessary materials and tools makes it easier to ensure occupational safety and increases productivity and product quality. This step prevents that idle items in the working environment and tools standing on the ground cause health and safety risks.

Seiton 整頓  (Set In order)

In many organizations with a complex and disorganized workplace, searching for a required material, equipment or document is considered a normal part of the job. However, this search is an activity that does not add value and cause waste of time and energy. This step is for organizing all the items in the workplace in a logical way so they make tasks easier for workers to complete.

Seiso 清掃 (Shine)

It is sweeping or cleaning and inspecting the workplace, tools and machinery on a regular basis. The lack of cleanliness of the working environment creates a risk by demoralizing the employees. It also causes contagious or short-term health problems by negatively affecting occupational hygiene. Workplace cleanliness and order is a factor that eliminates many other problems before they even occur.

Seiketsu 清潔 (Standardize)

This step is about maintaining the 5S methodology. It is the standardization of practices to ensure the continuity of what was achieved with the first 3S (Sort, Set In Order and Shine).

Basically, this is the step of making rules for how and when the first three S tasks will be performed. 

Shitsuke しつけ (Sustain)

It is the regular control of the standards and rules determined by the standardization step to ensure the continuity of other steps. It is about self-discipline of the workers and also translates as “do without being told”.

In 5S working environments, with the effect of these steps, there will be a decrease in machine failures, time spent for adjustment, waste and non-production. There will be an increase in workplace safety, the motivation of employees, productivity and profit. Therefore, every working environment should use the 5S technique.

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