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Elements of 5S

Five S Fast & Simple 

The First Step—Sort

(Clean Out The Junk)

Sorting through objects in the workplace is the first step. Everything that moves should have a tag-- tools, parts, furniture and personal objects. While the procedure is simple, the decisions are sometimes agonizing.

5s Red Tag5S Yellow Tag5S Green Tag

The Second Step—Shine

Clean, Polish & Paint

Cleaning ToolsWith only essential items remaining, it is time to clean and paint. In some 5S programs, cleaning and painting are considered separately. Either way, it is likely to be done over time. 

The first cleaning leaves some dirt and oil. The next cleaning looks better and third cleaning will prepare for painting. All floors, equipment, and almost every surface should get paint.

 5S In The Army        5S shine

The Third Step—Set

Determine Locations

After Sort and Shine, "Set" determines and identifies the location of each item. The methods for determining such locations may be elementary and intuitive or formal and elaborate. Often the elementary methods work quite well, especially during in the early phases. Workers simply look at each item, visualize its use, estimate the frequency of use and then select a location. After a few days, they can review and revise their locations.

 5S Toolbench

The Fourth Step—Standardize

At minimum, standardize the 5S activities and daily tasks. In some programs, standardization is used as an opportunity to standardize normal work activities and develop work instructions.  

Standardize 5S Activities

  • Aisle Marking

  • Cleanliness Standards

  • Color Schemes

  • Cleaning Schedules

  • Signage

  5S Sustain Campaign Board

The Fifth Step—Sustain

Institutionalize The Systems

Sustainment is usually the most difficult part of 5S. The attitudes and activities must be institutionalized and repeated until the become part of the culture and the fabric of everyday work.  This cannot be outsourced or solved with software. Management, top management, must reinforce it constantly with time, attention and repetition. 

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