The Fourth 5S Pillar: Standardize

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    • #94
      Mike Wilson

      By the time you reach the fourth pillar of 5S, the space you are working on should be free from clutter, organized in a logical manner, and thoroughly cleaned. Seiketsu, a Japanese term meaning Standardize, is the next phase to complete and will ensure the continued success of your 5S program. Similarly to maintaining a cleaning and inspecting program as part of Shine, the idea of this pillar is to standardize the approach to 5S through regularly auditing and checking in on 5S efforts.

      There are a number of tools and strategies you can utilize to keep up productivity and make it easy for workers to follow each step of 5S the exact same way. It is important to put extra time and effort into how you want to standardize the procedures in place, because failing to do so can lead to a loss of efficiency and work becoming sloppy over times.

      So, what is the best way to standardize? The following are a few tips and strategies to help you during this phase of 5S:

      • Make sure employees understand their responsibilities: If you have specific instructions or tasks for workers to complete, you need to make sure that it is clearly communicated. Whether you outline their responsibilities in a checklist or write it out in a chart, ensure employees can easily access them throughout the day. They should have an understanding of the 5S tasks that need to be done on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
      • Use a 5S Audit Sheet: Checklists and charts are a great tool for outlining everyone’s responsibilities and communicating the standards of your 5S program. An option is to design your own, but you can also utilize a 5S audit scorecard. This document provides specific questions about the work area and can be used daily by whoever is checking it at the time. For example, an audit sheet may include topics like tools being stored in the correct place on the shadow board or supplies put back to their correct home.
      • Conduct Periodic Evaluations: Once a 5S program has been implemented, you will want to periodically check back in. A committee made up of workers from different levels and departments should be made to aide in these evaluations, and it ensures employee’s voices are being heard.

      Establishing a formal visual communication standard for labels and signs by the use of consistent, specific safety symbols, font styles and sizes, and color-coding, also greatly improves recognition rates throughout the facility. When these colors are consistent in checklists and throughout the workplace, employees are much more likely to recognize and understand what is being communicated and what is expected of them.

      Finally, it might be beneficial for you to pause between the third and fourth phases of 5S to snap some photos. Take pictures of the work cells, tool benches, equipment, and machinery as an example of what the standard is. Posting these in the facility serve an effective reminder to workers what their space should look like at the end of the day.


      If your company has implemented 5S, how did you pla to standardize your efforts? Did you use schedules or checklists? Let us know what you found to be the most helpful tools or what advice you would give someone new to 5S

    • #126

      There is a lot of good information that you provided in your post. In our 5S project, we utilized the 5S Audit Sheet to help communicate everyone’s responsibility. It has been a great tool for our shift leaders to make sure all the tools are put back where they belong. It also helps with making sure that everything is sustained.

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