5S Methodology – Increasing Workplace Productivity
The 5S methodology comes from 5 Japanese action verbs summarizing the essential tasks to be carried out to improve one’s environment.
The 5S method is a management technique that is part of the quality approach. You can sort, discard, recycle, archive, and place work tools according to their frequency of use. Store, classify in such a way as to limit physical movement or the carrying of heavy objects and optimize the use of space.
It is a fact that a bad workplace environment decreases the productivity level of the firm as well as employees. Thus, it stops us from achieving the desired or planned results. It destroys resources and brings negative effects on the whole. Many organizations, businesses, and companies regard isolated clean-ups in order to increase productivity. But, it is really helpful in short-term projects or tasks. The old routine will again back in and slowly disrupt the workplace conditions.
An excellent method is needed for the long term which comes from the management as well as employees. For this purpose, the Japanese 5S methodology is really useful and is increasingly gaining attention in the western world. This methodology is also referred to as the 5S methodology. The 5 represents five single steps. A workplace environment can be improved by using this methodology. The best thing about this methodology is that once the result has been obtained, it is continuously improved and examined. Below, you will find more about the 5S methodology.
5S Kaizen and Continuous Improvement:
Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy of working and living. The 5S methodology is based on this philosophy. The word is a combination of two words such as “Kai” (meaning “change”) and “Zen” (meaning “for the better”). Here we also talk about CIP (continuous improvement process). It is a process of focusing on guidelines and methods, but it is a unique way of focusing on living conditions, the work processes, and the workplace. This method helps to improve the workplace environment by developing desired conditions.
Kaizen brings improvement with small steps. For example, it helps to organize your desk and gives you peace of mind. Generally speaking, it is about searching for improvements on a daily basis and being excited to improve standards constantly. In this way, you can save your resources for the right projects and make work processes more efficient. Moreover, it allows using resources in a more sustainable approach. This type of methodology only works if management takes suggestions from employees and supervisors.
Lean management is also used for the optimization of work processes in western countries. The purpose of Lean management is similar to Kaizen, to make an efficient work environment and process-oriented work conditions. This method usually revolves around the steps of Kaizen.
What does 5S or 5A stand for?
For your information, the 5S methodology was created by Toyota’s production manager, Taiichi Ono. He was the original creator of this methodology. At that time, Toyota had been facing a crisis but they used the 5S methodology and become successful despite all the bad conditions. Since then, the 5S methodology has gained immense worldwide popularity. Companies that are utilizing this method have developed excellent work environments. But, do you really know what does 5A or 5S stand for?
Seiri or Sort (Separating):
Some workplaces are often occupied with too many things which are rarely used. You start overlooking these items and they create the space even messier. It is important to keep your items sorted and tidy. You must evaluate which items are useless or should be removed permanently. Which items should be stored or ignored? By doing this, you can easily find out what you have in terms of resources. It also saves the time that you have to spend rearranging these items.
Seiton or Straighten (Organizing):
This process directly follows the sorting. In this process, you need to find out which materials or items should be organized. Every item or thing needs a specific place or position. You must know how and when to use this material. After organizing material, you must structure or sign them for remembering. You can attach graphs or photos on organized materials in order to make them visible to everyone.
Seiso or Shine (Cleaning the Workplace):
Cleaning the workplace is really important because it gives your mind some peace and relief. It also covers the machines and equipment that are under maintenance or inspected. If they are too dirty then their efficiency will be decreased. This is one of the major reasons for productivity drop. In the 5S methodology, the cleaning process is not as important as other processes. But, its impact is very huge on productivity and the work environment. A clean workplace also attracts customers which leads to more profit.
Seiketsu or Standardize (Standardizing the Workplace):
This step covers two parts; first, the acquired company and cleanliness must be made standard and second covers how this standard was grasped. Marking the material or machines and maintaining a record of how often they need maintenance or cleaning. You can give charge of equipment or machines to individuals as a task. You can also make lists in order to give clear directions to employees.
Shitsuke or Self-Discipline (Complying with and Improving):
To maintain a new-made standard in the long-term, self-discipline is the key. You must deal with any negligence in a sensible manner. This requires employee commitment and often checkups. It is imperative to repeat the 5S methodology to gain regular improvements. This last step is a repetitive cycle. You can place this last step anywhere in the 5S methodology. But, the fact is that the other four steps revolve around Shitsuke.
Application and Benefits:
The 5S methodology and its five steps seem very easy and simple at first. But, they are really difficult to implement. So, the practical reality is way more complex than the virtual. It is crucial that all the employees and management should be on the same page for the success of the 5S methodology. This method requires a specific level of effort. It is the responsibility of the management to tell everyone about Kaizen and 5S. They must tell its benefits. For your ease, we are explaining some of its advantages below,
- Cleanliness and organization enhance well-being.
- Utilize resources in a more efficient way.
- It makes the work environment more productive and efficient.
- Makes the workplace less complicated.
- Reduces workplace accidents.
- It creates new opportunities and builds extra space.
Once the above benefits have been explained and presented clearly, employees will be inclined to work more efficiently. This can be achieved with proper training. Implementing the 5S methodology will take some time and courage, but you will see positive developments if you implement it regularly. The seniors must lead in this scenario. This is the best method to gain long terms success.
We are summarizing the 5S methodology in the following points,
Generally speaking, this method was originally created for production companies, organizations, or industries, but it can be applied in numerous fields of work also. The aim is to create a productive and manageable work environment. You can employ this 5S method with the help of managers. The implementation of this method requires some time and courage. To implement you need the help of employees. Yes, it is time-consuming but the result is very fruitful. It is a successful method in Japan and most companies are using this methodology.
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