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4 Big Benefits of MES Manufacturing Solutions
Estimated read time: 8 minutes
Imagine you’re a newcomer to the manufacturing industry. You’ve never stepped foot on a...
5S or 5 S. Not 5s, or Five-S, or the Five S's. And definitely not 5's. This is not an elite crime fighting group in Hawaii or a Boy Band from another era. 5S is perhaps the most straightforward and yet the most misunderstood and underappreciated of all the Lean Manufacturing tools and principles.
5S System is based on five Japanese words:
Here are the English translations for each of these words:
5S System: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain
What's with all the S-words? It's not a coincidence. You will notice a preponderance — scratch that — a whole slug of S-words throughout. And that's the idea. If you just put these babies to music in your head, that's all the smarter of you! The idea is to ingrain these words so they become second nature.
So, what's the point here? It's simple really, and for the most part, pretty simple. The 5S System, and all it stands for, are building blocks, and, some would argue, the very foundation of Lean. Let's take a closer look at each element of the 5S System.
Sort seems pretty simple, right? Well, sort of, sure. Who doesn't want to start a new endeavor with a clean slate? I sure do. And so do your teams. They want to begin every day in a clean, clutter free work space.
Sort, as it applies to 5S, means removing everything that is not necessary to perform a task in your work space. While this is a fairly straightforward undertaking, it is surprisingly difficult for many people. It feels like something is being taken away from them, even if they are the ones doing the removing.
These folks aren't pack rats. They've learned the hard way over the years that everything they need is not always readily available. If you've ever run out of a basic necessity, you can understand the urge to keep a few extra on hand, just in case of a rainy day.
So, where's the harm in that? If only one person kept one extra of one thing, no biggie. But when every person keeps extras of everything, that's not good. It's not about housekeeping. 5S improves your workplace environment for better control, productivity, and safety. Why? What does it really hurt? Here's a short list:
After you've removed everything that is unnecessary, organize what remains. Neatly arrange and identify parts and tools for ease of use.
You want to understand the playing field and know where the boundaries are. I can't think of any sport that doesn't have clearly laid out lines so you know what you're supposed to do and where you're supposed to do it.
Clean it up! Literally. Put some elbow grease into it! (Elbow grease leaves no residue).
Clean up your act, people!
Shine is a critical element of your 5S System. When things are neat and tidy, arranged in a logical fashion, it is easy to quickly identify abnormalities in your work space, processes, and products. Think 'Sleeping with the Enemy,' minus the psycho, while marveling at the level of mean on clean and organizational skills. If that thought sent a shiver down your spine, good! That should be your reaction going forward when any element of your 5S System is unfulfilled.
Why is it necessary to Standardize as part of your 5S System? While variety is the spice of life, consistency is the key to happiness, my friend. There's something to be said for having a routine. Utilize checklists, preferably electronic.
You know what has to be done and how it should be done, the same way, every day. It's reassuring to know that no matter where in the world you walk into a McDonald's, your Big Mac is going to be the Big Mac you recognize and expect, made the same way, every time.
What benefits can you expect when you Standardize?
Think back on the example of a playing field. You want to understand the layout of that field and know where the boundaries are. Imagine a sporting event where the boundaries are defined by snow cones.
Most of the heavy lifting is behind you! Give yourself and your teammates a well deserved pat on the back! It's all downhill from here. This is the time to practice those first 4 S-words on a daily basis. Ingrain these behaviors and they become habit, the fifth S-word.
Discipline is both the word and the state of mind associated with Sustain in the 5S System. Self-discipline as well as the discipline required to make and keep this commitment to your coworkers, employer, customers, and stakeholders. After all, this is not merely a feel good exercise, although you will undoubtedly feel good. Great, even! The bottom line here is, well, the bottom line. The benefits of your 5S System will positively impact all of the above parties.
How to approach and solidify the 5S System at your plant:
Think about sharing the 21/90 Rule with your teams as part of your commitment to your 5S System.
Commit to a personal or professional goal for 21 straight days. After three weeks, the pursuit of that goal becomes a habit. Once that habit is established, you continue to do it for another 90 days. If you can keep up something for three weeks and then ninety days, then it should become a permanent lifestyle change.
It’s all about leadership. It’s always all about leadership. And leadership is always accountable for what happens or fails to happen on their watch.
Sort. Set in Order. Shine. Standardize. Sustain.
You got this!
May 19, 2022by Trent Maw
Estimated read time: 10 minutes
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