Almost every organization in the world knows by now that the 5S system is an efficient, low maintenance and high impact means of driving continuous improvement. The system itself can be used in offices, shop floors and software systems. So why is it that many who have tried this powerful tool only yield small returns or feel as though something is hiding?
1. Missed sorting or tagging of items - "We'll use it someday." If you have heard that phrase before chances are you didn't capture all the benefits of your 5S initiative. Be sure that if an item has been collecting dust for over 30 days and an agreement can't be reached the item is tagged and addressed in a 5S auction.
2. Unsure what to look for - Another very common reason why the 5S feels like a cleaning event that yields minimal returns, is that people are not exactly sure what to look for or where to look. Here is a fun little list of some things to look for in your 5S event:
3. 5S removes waste and cleans - There are no two ways about it; some people will say spring cleaning and other people will say waste removal. Can't we all just get along? It does both. Move a tool that is used everyday from one side of the shop to the point of use and your transportation is minimized. Shine a machine up and discover not leaks, breaks or malfunctions; well, you've got a sanitary area that invites the spirit. Whether you're removing waste or shining for inspection, hygiene or sustainment both are beneficial so why not do both?
There are many ways to squeeze hidden waste out of an area with the 5S system. The more events you conduct and are a part of the more hidden waste and "top secret" items will become visible. What are some unique things that you have found during a 5S event?
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