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Five S

Five S (or more commonly 5S) is a Japanese approach to organising a workplace. It is often one of the early techniques used as organisations move towards becoming ‘lean’. This is because it offers ‘quick wins’ that help to build momentum.

The 5S’s are:

Seiri (or Sort)
Define what is actually needed (and how much of it) in an area. Anything that is not needed should be got rid of – or stored in its right place (elsewhere). Identify where everything should be placed to maximise effectiveness.

Seiton (Straighten or Set in Order)
Follow the old adage ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’. Lay out logically, label and colour- code to make sure everything stays in place.

Seisou (Shine or Sweep)
Keep things clean and tidy – already ready for the 'VIP plant tour'. When a plant/office is well-laid-out and is clean and tidy, it is easier to recognise something out of place, and to identify possible sources of contamination/defect.

Seiketsou (Standardise)
Define standards to ensure that things stay tidy, orderly and clean.

Shitsuke (Sustain)
Develop a system of constantly assessing performance and challenging for improved methods.

The 5S process aims to create and maintain an organised, clean and efficient workplace that supports the highest level of value-added performance.  This means eliminating search, travel, transporting materials, and inventory by introducing organisation and orderliness, eliminating unneeded materials and establishing self-discipline.

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