Using the Lean Six Sigma 5S Tool for Maintenance

Let’s face it, having a neat clean and organized workspace makes work easier and a pleasure. The same can be said for any home closet or home office. The best prevention and defense tool to make a perfectly organized and clean space is none other than the Lean Six Sigma 5S tool.

A Quick Review of the Lean Six Sigma 5S Tool

This tool has its origins as a Japanese method for organizing, with the S in the description standing for concepts in Japanese. Luckily, we also have English words that also fit nicely. 

  1. Sort (Seiri)
  2. Straighten (Seiton)
  3. Shine (Seiso)
  4. Standardize (Seiketsu)
  5. Sustain (Shitsuke)

The trick here is to do this everyday after you have finished with your work processes. This can apply to either a workspace at your business, home office, or even a computer.

If the clutter is beyond reproach, then a 15-20 minute time allowance everyday to manage your space is favorable until goal is achieved.

The 5S Process Broken Down

Sort: Divide any necessary and unnecessary items, and get rid of the unnecessary ones, for they are waste. This includes outdated, broken or any items that are not used any longer.

Straighten: Organize the space so that tools or items that you use can be easily accessed. As Benjamin Franklin used to say, ”A place for everything, and everything in its place.” When dealing with heavy items, make sure they are placed in a spot that would ensure that the item could be easily picked up, avoiding injury.

Shine: Clean in any way that is required, by sweeping, vacuuming, dusting and even scrubbing. This type of cleaning, when doing for the first time, should be intense and thorough. 

Standardize: Create an easy process of how to maintain the new standard. Use labels, or color-coded identifiers is a good idea. This is setting up the new standards for this now neatly organized space or computer.

Sustain: This is maintaining the newly organized, neat and clean space. This is actually the basis of our blog post. If you take a small amount of time at the end of your process or task to put things away and get rid of what you don’t need, sustaining this new normal will be easy.

Want to learn more about the 5S tool for your business? Take one of our Six Sigma training classes today!

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