5 Reasons Manufacturing Businesses Should Implement 5S

The success of any business is defined by how efficiently it is run. For this reason, business owners in the manufacturing industry have to keep themselves abreast of different strategies that help them maximize their industrial output by making optimum use of the available resources. With the global success that Japanese industries have managed to achieve, it comes as no surprise that factory owners elsewhere seek inspiration from the business methodology employed by their East Asian counterparts. In recent years, the Japanese 5S work philosophy has become the go-to approach for industrial operations all over the world.

If you own a manufacturing business and are aiming to improve its rate of productivity, you may want to understand the basics of 5S implementation and how this approach can benefit you.

Implementation of the 5S approach

5S implementation is an aspect of lean management that has come to be used extensively in factory or industrial management. As its name suggests, this methodology comprises five steps that begin with the letter S. These include:

  • Sort (or Seiri): Clear the work space off any redundant items or equipment.
  • Set in order (or Seiton): Organize the workplace by placing things in a systemic manner so that it is easy to gain access to them later.
  • Shine & check (or Seiso): Keep the workplace clean at all times to ensure a work environment conducive for the workforce.
  • Standardize (or Seiketsu): Systematize and regulate the workplace in accordance with the aforementioned steps. Keep checking regularly that all systems are in place and working smoothly.
  • Sustain (or Shitsuke): Continue with the same work model and make it a regular practice.

5s-signReasons to implement the 5S approach in manufacturing businesses

A detailed study of 5S implementation makes it evident that it is a comprehensive working model for industries and other manufacturing businesses. To create a better understanding of the 5S method, it is important for business owners to learn the reasons why it should be made a part of the inner workings of a factory. Some of these reasons are:

  1. Increased efficiency: Increasing the industrial output is the basic aim for any manufacturing establishment. Greater productivity symbolizes an efficient work structure and this can be made possible by implementing the 5S strategy. Strategy consultation firm Stratego has stated in its study that 5S method is behind the success of a significant number of manufacturing businesses. Getting rid of needless items around the workplace alone can help enhance the productivity potential of a company. A clutter-free work space can help avoid chaos, helping factory owners in saving valuable time and preventing losses due to mistakes. Since the workers do not have to waste time in looking for things scattered around the workplace, they are in a better position to focus their time and energy in producing better results for the company.
  2. Safer working environment: It is not uncommon for factories to experience unforeseen accidents that not only result in workplace casualties but also bring bad repute to the business. These accidents can be caused by a number of factors including a mismanaged work mechanism, lack of maintenance of the industrial equipment and exposure to potentially hazardous materials. The 5S strategy takes all of these situations under consideration and suggests solutions that are compulsory to avoid mishaps at the workplace. Cleanliness in and around the manufacturing plant is essential to minimize safety concerns. Proper maintenance and disposal of chemical substances can play a significant role in guaranteeing a safe and secure surrounding for the workers. For this, companies have to gain awareness on how to clean and sanitize the workplace in case of accidental spills or leakages. By maintaining a steadfast approach in countering safety concerns head-on, business owners can count on greater loyalty among their employees as well as good reputation for the industry.
  3. Minimum wastage: One of the cardinal rules of maximizing profits is to introduce a working process that minimizes wastage due to error or disorganization. Wastage adds to a business’ financial burden. Following the 5S model, not only can the factory management put a cap on the losses incurred due to wastage but can also channelize the earned profits into greater benefits for the employees. As part of the 5S philosophy, businesses are required to keep the work space organized and keep a tab on any affected, lost or missing items. This can be done by maintaining an inventory of all the items present in the factory and tallying them regularly. Moreover, putting labels on compartments and storage spaces can help employees in familiarizing themselves with the space allocated for each item and put it in the right place. This diminishes the chances of things getting misplaced, saving the time and effort the workers would have put in locating them. Regular maintenance and standardizing the work procedures within the factory can go a long way in reducing wastage and helping the business cut back on costs in the longer run.
  4. Motivated workforce: The sustenance and standardization of the practices in place under the 5S system are made possible with contributions from all employees, no matter where in the organizational hierarchy they may be placed. When workers belonging to different departments of the organization come together, they bring their own expertise to the table and enable the 5S plan to be a success. This implies that 5S is a working strategy that encourages greater teamwork and commitment from the factory workers. A united workforce plays a motivational role in attaining greater loyalty from the employees and makes them eager to participate in the growth of the organization to which they belong. This is both a cause and effect of the 5S method, whereby workers commit to implementing the work strategy as well as bear the rewards it offers. Associating themselves with the well-being of their workplace encourages organizational sustenance as well as boosting the workers’ morale multi-fold. Higher the morale, lower the chances of workers finding their work cumbersome or looking for reasons to take off days.
  5. Platform for further improvement: 5S is a platform that not only takes the organization’s performance to the next level but also lays the groundwork for further enhancements to be made in the workplace. It brings a much-needed stability to the business, making it possible for the management to maintain its progressive approach and incorporate further improvements. The process manifests itself in the form of different organizational procedures – such as flow charts, Standard Operating Procedures (or SOPs) and regulations to reinforce the organization’s inherent principles – that have now become essential components of flawless industrial mechanism.

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