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The 5 S Manufacturing method

Lean manufacturing includes a specific practice called 5 S manufacturing. It is geared towards bringing order and improving safety in the workplace while raising productivity.Like many other lean manufacturing methods, the concept of5 S was first implemented by Japanese manufacturers.It was conceived by these Japanese companies to achieve manufacturing excellence with quality products.The product may result in the elimination of waste and defective materials that can bog down budgets.Since the 1980s, these practices have been adopted by major U.S. manufacturers as a key building block in a journey towards operational excellence and world-class manufacturing.

The manufacturing concept was named 5S because it is represented by five Japanese action words starting with the letter "S". The five steps were translated to English and phrases also starting with the letter "S." The sequence of steps in 5S is seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke.

Ideally, 5S starts out in small pilot areas that can be studied to improve processes before being rolled out to the entire facility. The studies or audits completed between steps, should be conducted by cross functional teams that have expertise in many areas of the process.

Seiri , or "sorting" meansmaterials necessary in the production process are segregated from the unnecessary , which are then disposed of.A red tag or other type of easy identification is used to label materials for disposal. The separation of materials is usually done per section of the production floor for greater efficiency in sorting.

Seiton is the second and means to `set things in place" . Tools and materials are arranged and put in their proper location following the sequence of production lines. shadow boardsare commonly used where the shape of each tool is painted on a board to guide workers in returning tools to their proper place. The tools are typically located close to the production line where they will be used.

Seiso or "shine" comes next in 5S manufacturing.Shining means that workers leave their respective work places clean at all times. A clean working environment is believed to stimulate improved worker productivity and organization.

The fourth step is seiketsu. It means to "standardize the practice" of 5S manufacturing to make the implementation uniform. Checklists are commonpractice to standardize the implementation of 5S. Activities in sorting, setting things in place, and shining are listed in the first column of the checklist and the person responsible for each activity is indicated in the second column. A third column reflects the frequency of each activity, while a fourth column indicates the completion of each step.

The final step in 5S manufacturing is shitsuke, which means "sustain".Seiketsu facilitates the implementation of shitsuke butefforts must also be made to promote the discipline by motivating everyone in the plant to practice it.

5S is not meant to be a project with a finish date, but rather an ongoing cycle that improves every aspect of manufacturing. It is a journey that never ends for companies dedicated to linking operational improvements to customer benefits. Over the course of many years, it becomes a culture in and of itself that will facilitate itself along the way.

Unfortunately there are a lot of companies that will start with the first 3 steps and then they do not follow through anymore. This will leave the company in disarray as you went through all this work only to end up having it goes to waste. You need to do the last 2 phases in order to ensure that you are able to remove wastes from the organization and to have the company running better.

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