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Management Improvements

5 S Workplace Management Awareness

5-S is the first step towards Total Quality Management (TQM)

Gain an understanding in the purpose and benefits behind the 5S methodology. Learn how to explain the 5S standard and how to use it to organize your workplace to create a clean, safe, orderly, high-performance work environment that promotes efficiency.

5S is a systematic form of visual management utilizing everything from floor tape to operations manuals. It is not just about cleanliness or organization; it is also about maximizing efficiency and profit. 5S is a framework that emphasizes the use of a specific mindset and tools to create efficiency and value. It involves observing, analyzing, collaborating, and searching for waste and also involves the practice of removing waste.

5S Methodology

The 5S methodology is a systematic approach to workplace organization. This method includes the five steps of Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. Generally speaking, the steps of 5S involve going through items in a workspace, removing what's unnecessary, organizing items, cleaning, performing maintenance, and making sure these things become habits. These steps should occur in this order, and there must be a plan in place for performing the tasks associated with these steps on a regular basis. At the end of of a 5S implementation you will see characteristic things such as policy manuals, glow-in-the-dark tape or photoluminescent tape on the floor, colored bins, red tags, and 5S walks taking place. In the end, it should all add up to efficiency.

The 5S methodology originated in Japan and was first implemented by the Toyota Motor Corporation. The methodology was developed as a way to make just in time (JIT) manufacturing possible. This type of manufacturing intends to produce only the amount of a product that is needed, when it is needed. Having an organized workplace that utilizes visual cues to maintain itself allows JIT manufacturing to proceed more smoothly; in this type of environment, it's easier to see problems and move materials efficiently.

5S Training

Employees at all levels of an organization must receive adequate training in 5S for the system to be effective. This includes upper management, supervisors, maintenance staff, and employees on the floor. In 5S, everyone is responsible for doing his or her part to maintain the system, and this occurs in workplaces where people understand the thinking behind 5S, not just the steps and tasks they must perform.

5S training should explain the pillars of 5S, its applications in the workplace, how 5S fits in with the company's goals, and what role each person will play in maintaining an effective 5S workplace.