5S Initiatives for your shop

People often ask, “What is 5S Initiatives?” “Where did it come from?” “Who started it?”

In the 1960’s, a Japanese company that wanted to expand its product line globally strategized on how they could be more competitive by increasing their internal productivity and efficiency. They created a list of common sense items, and ironically all of them began with the letter ”S”. Translated to English, the words with the same meaning also began with the letter “S”, so the “S” name was adopted. There was actually seven “S’s”, but they stuck with the most effective ones to keep it simple at 5. By now you’re probably wondering who this company was and if it was effective. You might have heard of them, it was Toyota Automotive. Here are the “S” words and their meanings:

1. SORT – Determine what is needed in an area and remove what isn’t

2. SET – Designate a place for everything needed in the area, and set up an organized plan for everything to be stored neatly and efficiently

3. SHINE – Always keep the area clean and organized

4. STANDARDIZE – Every area with similar functions should have everything stored the same way in each area

5. SUSTAIN – Ensure everyone is keeping everything where it should be

This allowed anyone to go into any production cell and know where everything they needed was. There was no more wasting time looking for things, and less wasted time led to more production. Here are the other “S’s” they discussed:

6. SAFETY – Remove all potential hazards that could cause injury

7. SECURITY – Lock up expensive, critical items

Recent events have proven that yet another “S” should be considered, in conjunction with “Shine”:

8. SANITIZE – Deep clean the area occasionally to help prevent bacteria growth and transfer among employees, reducing the spread of potential sickness and absence

How to create a 5S program for your shop

5S initiatives are typically driven by ownership and/or management; since it is often perceived as “more work” by some employees, it’s really self-discipline, and often it’s not easy to get the buy-in needed to make it successful. Accountability is key and the driver for success. The most difficult “S” is Sustain, keeping employees engaged in the practices in order to make it work.

To get started:

  • Discuss the initiatives with all employees before implementing them, making sure they understand the benefits of using them
  • Provide an incentive after a period of time to reward cooperation
  • Form groups of employees that perform the same functions – get everyone’s input and come up with a plan everyone agrees with
  • Start with a simple plan, and dive deeper into it as you see it working
  • Keep it positive – include everyone to promote engagement
  • Constantly share positive information on effectiveness and results
  • Don’t try to get everything done overnight, take the time to get the buy in
  • Continue to discuss practices and keep them on the forefront

Huot Manufacturing has what you need to make your shop 5, 6, 7, and even 8S compliant. Give us a call today to find out more on how we can help you meet your initiatives and become more organized, efficient, and productive.

Huot Manufacturing, we’re family-owned and American made.

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