Posted On:

By: Kelsey McIntyre

Clutter and disarray can greatly slow your workplace processes and make your business less productive. To remedy this common problem, simply follow the 5S approach to organise your workplace and make it more efficient.

The first step is Seiri (Sort): Distinguishing between necessary and unnecessary things, and getting rid of what you do not need

  • Remove items not used in area – outdated materials, broken items, redundant equipment, etc
  • Ask staff to tag all items which they don’t think are needed
  • Classify all equipment and materials by frequency of use to help decide if it should be removed
  • Establish a ‘holding area’ for items that are difficult to classify – hold item for allotted period to enable others not on 5S team to review

The next step is Seiton (Straighten, Set): The practice of orderly storage so the right item can be picked efficiently (without waste). There should be a place for everything and everything should be put in its place.

  • Identify and allocate a place for all the materials needed for your work
  • Assign fixed places and fixed quantity
  • Make it compact
  • Decide how things should be put away, and obey those rules

The third step is Seiso (Shine, Sweep): Create a clean worksite without garbage, dirt and dust

  • Identify causes of dirtiness, and correct process
  • Keep tools and equipment clean and in top condition, ready for use at any time
  • Cleanliness should be a daily activity – at least 5 minutes per day
  • Ensure proper lighting – it can be hard to see dirt and dust

The forth step is Seiketsu (Standardize): Setting up standards for a neat, clean, workplace

  • Standardization of best practices through ‘visual management’
  • Make abnormalities visible to management
  • Keep each area consistent with one another
  • Standards make it easy to move workers into different areas
  • Create process of how to maintain the standard with defined roles and responsibilities
  • Make it easy for everyone to identify the state of normal or abnormal conditions – place photos on the walls, to provide visual reminder

The final step is Shitsuke (Sustain): Implementing behaviours and habits to maintain the established standards over the long term

  • Toughest phase is to Sustain – many fall short of this goal
  • Establish and maintain responsibilities
  • Everyone sticks to the rules and makes it a habit
  • Participation of everyone in developing good habits
  • Regular reviews
  • Get to root cause of issues and aim to improve
  • Aim for continuous improvement

For a fun game relating to this, have a look at this past blog: http://standrewslean.com/blog/the-3-best-lean-games-every-company-should-learn-to-play/

All Entries

For all enquiries please get in touch

Contact Us