Workplace Improvement Through 5S
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5S is a Japanese concept of management mainly of use in the manufacturing industry and service providers of manufacturing industry. It aims at profit maximization through the reduction and elimination of wastage. The principle of 5S is of immense importance in the highly competitive market.

5S stands for the Japanese words seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke meaning sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain. The main objective of this principle is to systematize every activity to ensure smooth flow of operations, reducing wastage and loss in time.

The first step is to identify the unwanted items from the workplace and keep those which might be required later on in a store room. This helps in easy procurement of the articles as and when required.

Seiton is setting everything in an order. Everything must have a place of their own and care should be taken to make sure that everything is in its place to avoid confusions and wastage of time.

Seiso is keeping the workplace spic and span. Cleanliness is a must for every organization, whether it’s a manufacturing or industrial service provider. Cleanliness smoothens the flow of output and guarantees the good health of the employees.

The next step as per this system of management is ensuring the standardization of the first three to make it a continuous process. Standardisation of the procedures promises better chances of conforming to the procedures stated in the first three steps. This will ensure that the process becomes part of the daily routine. Otherwise things will be back to the chaotic state with wanted and unwanted items all messed up making it difficult to retrieve the needed items on time. Similarly a dirty environment leads to the improper utilization of the machinery and ill health of the employees.

To standardize, create a blueprint of the process and communicate them to the staff to promise strict adherence to the guidelines. A work which might take hours on end to complete can be completed in a few minutes if it is followed as a part of the daily routine. An example is keeping the working environment clean. Unwanted items are always thrown out and those which are of less importance are stored and labeled in a different room to facilitate quick retrieval.

Assigning responsibility becomes easier after standardizing the process. If as a motivation, the employees are rewarded for keeping their environment clean, more effort will be taken to comply with the standardization procedure.

“Shitsuke” or discipline needs to be developed in the professional and personal life of the employee to comply to the previous four procedures. To bring a discipline to their life, provide them with ample time to adhere to the procedure and motivate them with proper incentives on their good work. They should have a feeling of oneness with their environment to recognise it as a tool inevitable for their own welfare. Many companies in India like the Royal Enfield, Maruti and service centres of Maruti follows the 5S system of management.

A clean healthy environment can succeed in improving the efficiency with which the employees perform their duties. A clean environment and a healthy workforce is an attractive feature for the workforce as well as the customers.

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