5 S refers to 5 Japanese words that describe the steps of workplace organisation process. Originally the technique was called 4 S with steps 2 & 3 (Set and Shine) combined but companies like Toyota and many others follow the 5 S model. These are:
1. SEIRI or sort
Seiri refers to a simple red tag technique. In this technique one applies red tags to things which need to be disposed of over a period of time. The process entails the method of eliminating the unnecessary clutter away from one’s place of work. Under the supervision of a trained and skilled supervisor one could evaluate the necessity of items in terms of it’s cost implications and apply red tags to them. The inherent message is to keep only the items and files that are in current use on the table or work desk to ensure maximum productivity and minimize distraction.
Hence, when in doubt, move it out.
2. SEITON: Set in order
Without order an individual may only be occupied but without any adequate results. So it is imperative that at workplace we follow the first-in-first-out principle. Things must be arranged as per the frequency with which they are used. The documents, equipment and files that obstruct the smooth functioning of the work must be kept at distance from the workstation. Assign specific areas for specific items. Such an arrangement must be done on regular basis to prevent any wastage of time and effort on day to day basis.
Hence, arrange every isle and save your time.
3. SEISO: Shine
Seiso refers to the cleanliness of workplace. Keeping the working area clean not just adds aesthetic value to the workplace and brings in positive energy but it also prevents deterioration of equipment and wearing out of any machinery. Cleaning routine must be scheduled as per the requirement of the workplace. A checklist may help audit the schedule of cleanliness.
Hence, clean in time and let it all shine!
4. SEIKETSU: Standardize
Standardization of any procedure refers to the fact that rules and norms are well in place and are adhered to by all. This technique refers to standardizing or establishing rules for sorting, organizing and cleaning procedures, the 3 s specified thus far. Make sure of using colour codes and photos to keep the things the way they should be and use audit checklists to ensure the 3 S’s above are being uniformly implemented.
Hence, keep your standards in place, so there’s no menace!
5. SHITSUKE: Sustain
Sustaining all of the 4 S is the toughest of all phases. It requires a committed leader to establish and maintain responsibilities for sustenance. Following a discipline and making a habit of sustaining improvements through regular audits and reviews is the key to managing the process of success. An effective leader or supervisor is the one who ensures that employees are completely automated into the system of sustaining the 4 S, so much so that they do without being told.
Hence, sustain the advances, for positive consequences.