The 5 S’s: Sort, Shine, Set in Order, Standardize, and Sustain

The holidays have come and gone. Everyone is back to work. And while many have made “New Year’s Resolutions” to eat better, exercise more or spend more time with family, few have made resolutions to make their lives more productive on the job.

Did you know that the more organized you are at work, the more productive you are, thus happier you and your boss are?

Think about it…Workplace Organization.

How many times have been looking for an item and can’t remember where you put it? You look in your desk drawers, the filing cabinet, and your briefcase, but you still can’t find it! Then begins the dreaded task of asking your coworkers and even your boss, if they have seen what you’re looking for. Hopefully, either you remember where it is or someone finds it. Will this incident be followed by suggestions from your coworkers and/or boss on being more organized?

Well, we would like to put in our two cents as well. It so happens there is a program that focuses on organizing, cleaning, and creating a visually pleasing workplace. It’s called the 5S…developed by the Japanese and utilized by manufacturers worldwide.

The 5S’s are:

SORT – Start by deciding what things are necessary to have in the work area. By necessary, we mean items used at least once per month. Sort through everything in your area and decide what items are used frequently. Not only will you evaluate the equipment to do your job, but you will discover work surfaces that were unusable due to the “stuff” accumulated.

SHINE – In addition to daily cleanup, you must do in-depth cleaning. Create a checklist of daily or weekly cleaning activities to keep your area dust and clutter free.

SET IN ORDER– A place for everything and everything in its place. The secret to success is that the team agrees on the best locations for items in the workspace and how many of those items are required.

STANDARDIZE – Make the organization of the work space visual. Designate an area to keep pens, pencils, sticky notes, staples, etc. Designate an area for copy paper boxes or hand trucks and if necessary, use yellow tape to define an outline on the floor. If you work with tools, how about having a tool board with an outline of each tool so they are easy to find and know when they’re missing. Remember – there’s a place for everything & everything should be in its place.

SUSTAIN – Both management and employees must commit to the 5S system and continue to work through Sorting, Shining, Setting in Order and Standardizing. Also, remember that this is an ongoing improvement process. To sustain the 5S system, there should be periodic reviews of each work area.

Although the 5S system sounds like an easy way to get organized, it is! With continued commitment and dedication from everyone, the results will be worth it. Sooner than later you will start to notice improvements in efficiency and quality, reduction in accidents and best of all, everyone will be spending time doing value added work.

Safety Links offers a 4-hour course designed for all levels of employees working in the manufacturing and processing industries. The course can be customized to your site specific needs. Give us a call at 800-768-7036 with questions or for additional information.

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