What is the 5S method and why everybody should use it

The 5S method, for operational excellence

For those who don’t already know it, the 5S method is composed of 5 steps. Each of them is the summary of a word beginning with the letter S in Japanese: Seiri (整 理), Seiton (整 頓), Seiso (清 掃), Seiketsu (清 潔), Shitsuke (躾).

The 5S method comes from Japan. It was created for the production of Toyota plants. The 5S methodology is a management technique part of the quality approach.

Therefore, it is a practice that reflects the desire to optimize working conditions and working time at all times by ensuring the organization, cleanliness, and safety of a work surface. It works for the factor, the office, and is based on common sense and simple rules that are often overlooked. The application of the 5S in sequence facilitates a complete and successful implementation.

What does 5S mean?

The first S, Seiri, Eliminate
For the first of the 5S, we have to start by getting rid of everything useless. If it’s essential to keep, it’s also important to throw. But more importantly, you need to know what to keep and toss.

The second S, Seiton, Store
It is a question of positioning something in a precise place so that you can find it immediately when you need it and without wasting time looking for it. The frequency of use defines the location of the objects.

The third S, Seiso, Clean up
It goes far beyond cleaning offices and workplaces. It is also cleaning the means of production in order to avoid signs of wear. For machines and tools, for example, this is the first step towards self-maintenance because it is during cleaning that we detect premature wear and abnormalities.

The fourth S, Seiketsu, Standardize
For this step, the rules are defined for the workplace to remain free of unnecessary objects and clean. Then visual management eliminates the risk of disorder.

The Fifth S, Shitsuke, Respect
This the last S. It defines that you must respect previously established rules and encourage staff to adhere to them. Always do the right thing to make 5S a habit.


5S method at the fairfactory

An illustration of the application of the 5S method at the Fairfactory


Why you should apply the “5S” method?

Applying the 5S method is beneficial to the company.

The 5S method reduces or even avoids:
– disorder
– loss of documents
– deterioration of the equipment
– accidents at work

The 5S method optimizes:
– working time
– working conditions
– travel
– indirectly the turnover


What about the 5S at the Fairfactory?

When you start an industrial activity from scratch it is even more recommended to use the 5S method as you cannot rely on an existing one and improve it. From the outset of the creation of activities, we need to think about 5S, which has become a standard in the industry.

A working group has implemented the method in the production and quality departments.

Then, the implementation of the 5S method involved:
– the creation of a display
– the organization of a timed actions plan

Finally, the service managers are responsible for applying, respecting, and maintaining the actions of the 5S method in collaboration with the quality department.

We are only at the beginning of the method but it was important for Fairmat and the whole team to apply it from the start of the plant, to be more efficient.