The lean methodology also defines a workplace organization methodology called 5S. It ensures work can be performed efficiently, effectively, and safely. Initially, 5S was implemented only in the manufacturing arena. 5S began as part of the Toyota Production System (TPS), the manufacturing method begun by leaders at the Toyota Motor Company in the early and mid-20th century. This system is often referred to as Lean manufacturing in the West. It has now expanded into all sectors of business and has shown proven results for faster and better performance.
The 5 ‘S’ stands for 5 Japanese words seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. Let us look at what they mean and how they can be implemented in the workplace.
•Seiri means Sorting and prioritizing. You go through all the materials and tools available and keep only the essential items. The unnecessary ones are discarded or stored away. Keeping only the required information means only that particular data will be analyzed. This fastens up the process greatly.
•Seiton means Straighten or set in order. Focus on efficiency. Arrange the tools and equipment in an orderly fashion that assists the workflow. Ensure that everything stays in place. While performing analysis or process, having the data in a particular order can save you a lot of time.
•Seisō means Shining or cleanliness: Systematically clean the workplace to keep it neat and clean. At the end of the day, everything is restored to its original place and the workplace is cleaned up. When your workplace and reports are clean, your data is easily accessible.
•Seiketsu means Standardizing: Align your work practices such that you operate in a consistent and consistent fashion. Everyone knows exactly what his or her responsibilities are and adhere to the previous three S’s.
•Shitsuke means Sustain the discipline. This is done by Maintaining and reviewing standards.