What is the meaning of 5S?

What is the meaning of 5S? 
5S is the acronym for five Japanese words: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke and they represent the five steps for a systematic technique for good housekeeping as indicated in the table below: 

 The five steps of Japanese 5 S 

Step                                          Corresponding action 
Seiri (Sort)                                 Distinguish between necessary and unnecessary items.                                                                    Remove the latter. 
Seiton (Set in order)                 Enforce the dictum ‘a place for everything and everything in                                                          its place’. 

Seiso (Shine)                             Clean up the workplace and look for ways to keep it clean. 

Seiketsu (Standardize)            Maintain and monitor adherence to the first three Ss.

Shitsuke (Sustain)                   Follow the rule to keep the workplace 5S-right. Hold the gain

Why do we practice the 5S? 

The general concept of the 5S is that they are intended to eliminate waste (Osada, 1993). Working in disorder is neither productive, nor safe. 5S is a simple and practical method to instil a quality culture at the work place. It is relatively easy to undertake, and requires minimal additional resources. The first and small investment made in time and effort pays off in a much bigger manner when the results are realized and maintained.

 Among the main benefits of implementing 5S are:
 • the workplace becomes cleaner, safer, well-organized and more pleasant
 • floor space utilization is improved 
• workflow becomes smoother and more systematic and non-value added activities are reduced; 
• time for searching tools, materials and document is minimized;
 • machine breakdowns are reduced since clean and well-maintained equipment breaks down less frequently and it also becomes easier to diagnose and repair before breakdowns occur, therefore extending equipment life; 
• errors are minimized leading to making defect-free products; 
• consumables and material wastage are minimized;
 • the morale and satisfaction of employees improves; and • the productivity of the organization improves together with the quality of products and services. 5S: G

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