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What is 5S and How Can It Benefit My Business.jpg

What is 5S and How Can It Benefit My Business

5S is a housekeeping discipline that creates a focus and sustainability on process improvements. However, 5S is more than just housekeeping - it is the foundation for your business to create a culture of continuous improvement. There are five phases to 5S:


This step in the process is designed to question what is in your work area versus what is required. It is also one of the steps that can create confusion if not done correctly.

For the sort phase to be successful, you must red tag all items removed from the work area, segregate them, and review if they are actually required periodically before you discard them.


This step in the process is designed to improve the efficiency of your work area. It reduces non-value-adding activities in your daily job function by putting the most used items closest to you. The location of items is determined by frequency of use and duration.


This is by far the most commonly confused step in the 5S process. Shine means using cleaning as inspection so yes, it is about identifying what cleaning activities and materials are required to keep you work area clean. But its most important function is to identify abnormalities or problems before they occur. If you have a messy or unorganised work area, it is imposable to identify any problems until they occur.


This step is about insuring the same process is being used throughout all departments. Standardisation reduces variation in process by using clear written instruction, training and skills gap analysis to ensure the same performance outcomes in all departments.


One of the most difficult things to do in change management is to get people to change old habits. In this step, we manage the 5S performance through a scoring system that measures all the 5S steps in your work area. You need to measure the performance so you can improve it. We use a regular audit cycle were the work area is scored to measure its performance and identify continuous improvement strategies, therefore creating the foundations and culture of continuous improvement.     


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Author: Tony Webb

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