5S is a standardized system of cleanup followed in factories & organizations. The five S in the system stand for :-
• Seiri: This implies cleanliness and systematic organization. Seiri involves sorting all the tools, instruments, materials etc and retaining only those that are absolutely essential. Everything else should be separately kept or, if necessary, discarded. As a consequence of this, accidents can be minimized and the workspace is less cluttered.
• Seiton: Seiton implies methodical and orderly nature of things in the work environment. It emphasizes the need for a workplace where everything is in order. It calls for the systematic arrangement and easy access to instruments, tools and other equipment. This results in speed and in reducing unnecessary bottlenecks and delays.
• Seiso: This stands for cleanliness. Emphasis is placed on the need to keep and maintain a clean work environment. The work environment is to be cleaned at the end of every shift and everything to be in its appropriate place.
• Seiketsu: This stands for standardization. All the processes, products in a factory should conform to set standards and specifications. These standards should be known to everybody. Seiketsu also involves housekeeping to keep the workplace clean and orderly.
• Shitsuke: Shitsuke stands for discipline. This refers to ensuring that all the work related processes conform to set standards and that the work environment is both safe as well as efficient.
In the West, in an effort to contextualize this philosophy, equivalent english terms have been used to enhance acceptability. They are “Sort, Straighten, Shine, Systemise and Sustain” In some instances, “Safety” is used as a 6th S. The 5S has been further Americanized by the CANDO method which stands for (Cleanup, Arranging, Neatness, Discipline, and Ongoing improvement).
Implementation of 5s The implementation of the 5s is done differently in different companies. There are certain easy steps for the implementation of the 5s.
They are • Creating a panel to look after the exercise • Create a plan for each of the 5s • Make a public announcement about the start of the program • Ensure that the employees get training and proper education. • Help the employees choose a day when they can clean and organize their immediate work environment. • Evaluation of the results • Self Examination and corrective actions.
Like any other initiative from the management, 5s requires involvement and the will of the management to be successful. The management and the senior leadership must have good knowledge of the system and clear objectives. They must also make the effort to adequately training the workforce on the new scheme.