5S and Gemba are technically two different strategies that are used by businesses to make improvements. 5S is generally focused on waste reduction and elimination, and Gemba is more of a strategy to gather information that can be used to make improvements in the facility. While they don’t initially seem to have too much in common, they are actually related in a variety of ways. Understanding how 5S and Gemba can work together to get the best results is important for any workplace.
5S Can Use a Gemba Walk
When looking at 5S it is easy to see that the focus on finding and eliminating waste is very important. There are many types of waste that can be present, and finding them is the first step in removing them from the facility. A Gemba walk is a great way to locate different types of waste in the facility. When a manager walks through the where the work is done, they will undoubtedly be able to spot various types of waste. This could be any of the 5S’s. In fact, many people who are going on a Gemba walk will actually write out each of the different types of waste so that they can specifically look for them.
Adding Structure to 5S
Another thing that Gemba can do for the 5S methodology is the addition of structure when trying to spot inefficiencies. By scheduling Gemba walks that are focused specifically on finding waste, you will be much more likely to find areas where improvement is possible. In many cases, it is discovering the specific waste areas that is the most difficult part of 5S, which is why Gemba can serve such a valuable purpose.
Gemba and 6S?
While safety isn’t technically part of 5S, it has been added in to the program in recent years, with many people calling it the 6th S. Gemba is a great option for finding areas where safety is a problem in the facility. Making a facility safer is going to provide many benefits, not least of which is the protection of employees. Safety problems do result in work stoppages, wasted money on paying for the incidents, and much more, which is why using Gemba for 6S is a great idea.
In the end, it is easy to see how Gemba and 5S are very interrelated and can provide companies with major benefits when they are used together.
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