5S Lean Part 3: Standardise

5S Lean Part 3: Standardise
5S Lean Part 3: Standardise teaser

09 Dec 2019

5 S Lean Part 3: Standardise

Part 3 of 4 on a series on the 5S Lean principles.

The fourth “S” in 5S lean principles is seiketsu, which is translated as Standardise.
For those unfamiliar with 5S, 5S is a method of workplace organisation based on five principles: seiri, seiton, seisou, seiketsu, and, shitsuke. Read our blog posts on 5S here. (Lean 5s Part 1 & Lean 5s Part 2)

Seiketsu is the creation of a raft of standards for your organisation and its processes. This involves looking at how you approached the first three “S” and ensure sorting, setting in order, and shining is part of everyday business practice through thorough documentation.

4S – Standardise – Seiketsu

The goal of Seiketsu is to take what your organisation and staff have learned in 1, 2, 3S and make it the new standard or “new normal.” 

In 3S, your team may have found that a weekly cleaning regimen of your plant and machinery is required to remove dust and grime. In 4S, your organisation would document this and make sure it is company policy or part of the “culture” of the business.

In time, setting things in order, sorting, and “shining” will become second nature to the business. New employees will also be able to uphold this culture, as one of the tenets of seiketsu is placing pictures or visual charts of the standards to remind workers of proper (or improper) workplace arrangement. 
A ‘word of mouth’ agreement between teams is not enough for seiketsu. Roles must be assigned for certain routine tasks; likewise, the expectations and responsibilities of those workers to maintain the new standard.

5S Audit Sheets and Checklists

Failing to uphold 5S means lost productivity and motivation over time. One way to sustain 5S is through 5S audit sheets or digital checklists.

These audit sheets or checklists usually come in the form of questions instead of tasks one “ticks off” the list. This gives a degree of agility in the process and if applicable, room to improve.
For example, a checklist at a warehouse might be:

  • Are the pallet jacks in their assigned storage areas at the end of shift? (2S)
  • Are all the tools and equipment necessary for the next shift on hand and ready? (1S & 2S)
  • Is the warehouse free of clutter and obstructions? (3S)
  • Are the conveyors moving freely and clear of dust or debris? (3S)

These audits can be conducted as a routine such as end-of-shift, weekly, monthly, or another predetermined period.

Digital checklists are useful in gathering data and business intelligence about how well a 5S system is working. If a certain process or system is inefficient or not working, the data can reveal a path forward to improve the process through repeating S 1-3 and standardising the new process as part of 4S.

To find out more about 5S and lean systems products, call Backsafe Australia on 1300 305 314 or visit our special 5S page

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