Many manufacturers have implemented tactics towards a “5S” workplace organization and housekeeping methodology in an effort to constantly improve or to supplement lean manufacturing processes. 5S is designed to decrease waste while optimizing productivity through maintaining an orderly workplace and using visual cues to attain more consistent operational results.
5S refers to five steps – sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain (also known as the 5 pillars of a visual workplace). These programs are typically put in place by small teams working together to get materials more accessible to operations, and to foster operations with the smallest amount of wasted time and materials.
Here are five ways your company can benefit from 5S systems:
1. Optimized Organization: The 5 pillars of workplace organization involves, to an extent, decreasing potential time wasted looking for, determining how to use, and returning items. Under the 5S philosophy, parts and tools are housed in a way that makes them easily accessible and easy to utilize.
2. Efficiency: The 5S system drives companies to improve efforts aimed to eliminate waste from the manufacturing process and overall enhance a company’s bottom line. This is done through improving products and services, and thus lowering costs.
3. Bigger Storage Density: Standard 5S implementation results in significant reductions in the square footage of required space for existing operations. The system involves getting rid of unnecessary items from the production facilities – freeing up space that can be used more effectively.
4. Heightened Safety: “Waste” to be eliminated is defined broadly and includes everything from carrying excess inventory to waste of unsafe conditions – like a box of supplies left in a heavily-trafficked area potentially causing a worker to trip and get injured.
5. Increased workplace morale: Making it routine to implement proper procedures and discipline to avoid backsliding is one of the main objectives of the system. This practice improves the chances of avoiding dark, dirty, disorganized workplaces, which can foster lower morale among employees.
While manufacturers prioritize consolidation and optimized space utilization, more and more companies are relying on lean methodologies such as 5s to achieve flexible production environments. Organizations who continue to strive for improved productivity ensures their business a solid chance at success in the long run.