Quality & Business Improvement

A technique used to establish and maintain quality environment.

Systematic cleaning

Aims of 5S

How to get started

Do only one 5S activity at a time and do it thoroughly.

Set a timetable which can be broken down into manageable chunks.

Review progress and plan for next session.

Encourage everyone to do their own 5S audits and be empowered.

Keep records - especially how things looked before, problems encountered and results of actions taken. Records can be held as videos or photographs.

Aim for workplace evaluations to keep everyone abreast of what is happening and to spot problems before they develop into major complications. The aim is to devise ways that will get everybody competing, in a friendly, but no less intense, way.

If the 5S progress is recorded on noticeboards, make sure it's kept up to date and changed from time to time! (This is a rather sour note, as one poor 5S board has been totally neglected and left unchanged for two long, solitary years).

Examples of 5S in action

Make a decision and implement it (eg have 5 minute cleaning periods).

Make tools and use them (eg special shelves, instructional labels).

Do things that demand improvement as prerequisites (eg measures to prevent leakage).

Do things that require help from other departments (eg fixing defecive machinery).

Start by throwing away things which are not needed (eg obsolete documents). Then name everything and assign locations.

Use cross-evaluations to enable teams working on similar problems to meet and exchange ideas. Don't keep all your ideas to yourself - the other teams may be have more appropriate ones.

Further Reading

  5 Pillars of the Visual Workplace: The Sourcebook for 5s Implementation
Hiroyuki Hirano

ISBN: 1563270471, Hardcover - £50.96 BUY

This is the main primary source for information on 5S, written in a clear, easy to understand style. I found it very useful.
  The 5 S's: Five Keys to a Total Quality Environment
Takashi Osada

ISBN: 9283311159, Hardcover (used) - £30.00 BUY
ISBN: 9283311167, Paperback - £22.00 BUY

I found this a bit more formal than Hirano, very firmly focused on manufacturing, whereas Hirano shows that 5S can be used for any company, whatever its product.
    Visual Feedback Photography: Making Your 5S Implementation Click : Leader S Guide (Shopfloor Series)
Kenichi Ono, Tomoo Sugiyama

ISBN: 1563270900, Hardcover - £113.00 BUY

When I first asked for help on finding 5S information in newsgroups, the author suggested most often (after Hirano) was Sugiyama - his reputation connected with 5S seemed to approach a cult status. I still prefer Hirano, but this book shouldn't be ignored: the illustrations alone make it well worth getting.

© Fell Services Ltd., 2004

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