The 5S method - Optimising the workplace
5S was developed in Japan and used by Toyota. Accordingly, the 5S are Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke, which means sort, set in order, shine, standardise and sustain. The steps take place one after the other and are repeated continuously.
In the first step, we take a look at our workplace and the environment. What is needed and what is not needed? What is not needed is removed and for the things that are needed, we figure out how often we need them.
Set in order
Then we put everything that is needed for the work to a designated place. A distinction is also made between what is needed frequently and what is needed less frequently. The more often we need something, the more ready to hand it has to be. A sensible and effective system is important here. To keep things where they belong, labels or coloured markers are very good. It can even be useful to fix work utensils firmly so that they cannot be misplaced.
A matter of course for some, a pain for others: cleaning the workplace. A clean and above all dust-free workplace not only helps you to work well, it is also well received by customers. In addition, you protect your product from damage caused by dust and dirt, such as scratches.
Once one workplace is done, it's time to apply it to all the others. Create a standard that applies to all workplaces. Since not every workplace is the same and the standard for an office workplace cannot of course be transferred to the workshop, it is important to create corresponding standards for the same or similar workplaces.
You can try as hard as you want, but if you fall back into old patterns over time, the effort was in vain. That is why it is important to stick to the new procedures and tidiness. For example, it is a good idea to bring everything back to the established standard after work is done. Then you start the next working day well organised again.
Advantages and disadvantages of the 5S method
- An increase in transparency,
- an increase in the throughput speed of processes, as less time has to be spent on preparing the actual work,
- waste is reduced,
- substitutes find their way into the work more easily and quickly due to standardisation and order, and (perhaps most importantly)
- the quality of the work and thus the quality of the product and ultimately customer satisfaction increase.
Where there are advantages, there are of course also disadvantages:
- The work steps are standardised, which leaves little to no room for introducing one's own ideas,
- there is a reactive response to a problem instead of proactively avoiding it,
- a very high degree of discipline is required and
- the optimisation itself can be seen as non-value-adding.