5S is a workplace management system which is based upon five translated Japanese words: seiri (sort), seiton (set in order), seiso (shine/sweep), seiketsu (standardize), and shitsuke (sustain). Its main purpose is to organize a workplace so that it can become a more efficient and productive environment. It is also a mindset that, once enacted, can change the culture of a company for the better. It is a plan, with goals and steps, that provides a blueprint for waste reduction, increased efficiency, and improved product quality and employee satisfaction.
Developed in Japan as an aid to “Just in Time” (JIT) manufacturing (developed by the Toyota Production System), 5S was specifically coined, developed, and promoted by Hiroyuki Hirano. Although many of these techniques are considered “common sense” and had been innovated previously, it was Hirano who created a unified structure - identified and organized into the 5 distinct and individual steps that build upon the previous ones as support.
In order to implement a full 5S program into your facility, it is good to thoroughly understand that each successive step in the process CANNOT be achieved without the ones that preceded it. You cannot fully shine something that hasn't been sorted and set in order to begin with, nor can you standardize chaos.
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