The 5 'S'
Process: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke
or simply "5S", is a structured program to systematically achieve total
organization, cleanliness, and standardization in the workplace. A
well-organized workplace results in a safer, more efficient, and more
productive operation. It boosts the morale of the workers,
promoting a sense of pride in their work and ownership of their
invented in Japan, and stands for five (5) Japanese words that start
with the letter 'S': Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke.
Table 1 shows what these individual words mean. An equivalent set of
five 'S' words in English have likewise been adopted by many, to
preserve the "5S" acronym in English usage. These are:
Some purists do not agree with these English words -
that these words have lost the essence of the original 5 Japanese words.
Meaning in Japanese Context
Throw away all rubbish and
unrelated materials in the workplace
Set everything in proper place
for quick retrieval and storage
Clean the workplace; everyone
should be a janitor
Standardize the way of
Practice 'Five S' daily - make
it a way of life; this also means 'commitment'
first step of the "5S" process, seiri, refers to the act of throwing
away all unwanted, unnecessary, and unrelated materials in the
workplace. People involved in Seiri must not feel sorry about
having to throw away things. The idea is to ensure that everything left
in the workplace is related to work. Even the number of necessary items
in the workplace must be kept to its absolute minimum. Because of seiri,
simplification of tasks, effective use of space, and careful purchase of
orderliness, is all about efficiency. This step consists of
putting everything in an assigned place so that it can be accessed or
retrieved quickly, as well as returned in that same place quickly.
If everyone has quick access to an item or materials, work flow becomes
efficient, and the worker becomes productive. The correct place,
position, or holder for every tool, item, or material must be chosen
carefully in relation to how the work will be performed and who will use
them. Every single item must be allocated its own place for
safekeeping, and each location must be labeled for easy identification
of what it's for.
Seiso, the third step in "5S",
says that 'everyone is a janitor.' Seiso consists of cleaning up
the workplace and giving it a 'shine'. Cleaning must be done by
everyone in the organization, from operators to managers. It would be a
good idea to have every area of the workplace assigned to a person or
group of persons for cleaning. No area should be left uncleaned.
Everyone should see the 'workplace' through the eyes of a visitor -
always thinking if it is clean enough to make a good impression.
The fourth step of "5S", or seiketsu, more or less translates to 'standardized clean-up'. It
consists of defining the standards by which personnel must measure and
maintain 'cleanliness'. Seiketsu encompasses both personal and
environmental cleanliness. Personnel must therefore practice 'seiketsu'
starting with their personal tidiness. Visual management is an important
ingredient of seiketsu. Color-coding and standardized coloration
of surroundings are used
visual identification of anomalies in the surroundings. Personnel are
trained to detect abnormalities using their five senses and to correct
such abnormalities immediately.
The last step of "5S", Shitsuke, means 'Discipline.' It denotes commitment to maintain
orderliness and to practice the first 4 S as a way of life. The
emphasis of shitsuke is elimination of bad habits and constant practice
of good ones. Once true shitsuke is achieved, personnel
voluntarily observe cleanliness and orderliness at all times, without
having to be reminded by management.
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