Method 5S has five steps, but there are several approaches to realise it. It is necessary to distinguish, that 5S is not only carrying the activities, related to tidiness and cleanliness, but it is a structured approach to ensure efficiency in the workplace. Let's learn some of the most common approaches in practice and what forms of control we can use.
We can’t classify all approaches as 5S!
This is the most common approach in practice, where we can classify the following examples:
- Performing periodic, more intensive cleaning or sorting, for example, on customer visits, before performing an internal or external audit, reviews, assessments;
- Performing individual cleaning or sorting activities, for example, based on a superior's warning;
- The implementation of corrective activities of sorting and cleaning, which are consequences from audit observations, from discrepancies, mistakes and problems in the process.
A layman’s approach
Naturally, people need a tidy and clean environment. To ensure this, we perform various unstructured guided activities and actions, without considering or following the 5S procedures.
Performance by another person
It is common practice to carry out individual, unrelated activities in the field of sorting and cleaning. Standards are written, and implementation is monitored by another person. In this case, employees do not know, do not understand, and of course, do not follow the 5S principles.
The implementation of the 5S method in the shape of a project is the most comprehensive way of implementing the 5S method. It is usually carried out in the form of smaller, multidisciplinary workgroups, for a duration of 3 to 6 months. The group progresses step by step; the progression from one step to the next is possible only when we achieve a satisfactory level of improvement. The significance of the project implementation of 5S is that we do not achieve changes only in terms of the working environment, but also improve the skills of the project involved. From raising standards and culture, such an approach is urgent because, with the engagement of employees in 5S, we achieve a better commitment, understanding and compliance of the 5S method.
Kaizen and 5S
We all know the concept of Kaizen, which means systematic improvement. There are several approaches in this regard, and as a rule, 5S is one of the main "tools" that can help us to improve and get rid of the waste. Basically, the 5S method applies as a procedure for tidying and cleaning, but this is not true. 5S is mostly used to solve many of the wastes that we meet in the workplace (for example excessive movements, unnecessary transport, waiting, searching …).
The importance of control in the implementation of the 5S method
According to the principles of the PDCA cycle (PDCA or Deming Circle, which means: plan, do, check, act), each area requires planning, realise and, in particular, control - verification. Supervision ensures to maintain and improve the achieved level or standards. We can discuss the structured implementation of the 5S method can only when we consider all four steps of the cycle, both at the operational and organisational levels. If the 5S method is based on the control, without actual implementation and employee involvement, then such an approach is, of course, ineffective. It is good that this helps us to maintain some level of tidiness and cleanliness.
Let's look at some examples of control on the 5S field:
- Step or stage confirmation in the 5S project (we check and confirm every step with the audit in the project. Later, mostly to maintain the level, we perform general audits of 5S);
- Observing workplaces (among the many criteria, by which job observation is carried out, at least one of the criteria relates to tidiness and cleanliness or 5S);
- GEMBA walk or a tour (this is the activity of a leading structure to perform systematic tours in the production area. Here, pay attention to the basic prerequisite for effective work, like tidiness and cleanliness or 5S when it is actually implemented);
- 5S general assessment (it helps us to maintain the level, often using these estimates as one of the key performance indicators);
- Self-assessment of the 5S (a verification process, based on the criteria, that we carry out ourselves for our area).
We determine the success in implementing the 5S method by the criteria, the number of won stages, the reduction in the share of losses, the number of improvements …
Verification is a key element in identifying or maintaining a certain level and find out opportunities for improvement. In this way, we ensure that we do the right things in the right way.
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The difference between the first and the second approach is that the "new" approach does not only determine how to master the seven major efficiency gaps on machines but 16 major efficiency losses. Besides of planned shutdowns and seven loss groups on the machine, we also take into account 5 large losses that relate to the work of people and 3 groups of losses, which we consider as "the rest".