5S is usually seen as very basic, simple methodology, easy to get through. The reality is totally different and most companies fail to implement a significant and sustainable maturity level of 5S.
For those not familiar with and wanting to learn more about 5S, check my Quick Beginner’s Guide to 5S.
Here are 5 reasons and few examples why 5S make the world a better place.
Please note they are nothing else than some high level consideration and there is much more to 5S than that!
A tidy clean place is usually a safer place. Compared to dark, dirty, cluttered workspace, a 5S one provides better visibility and overall safety.
Better visibility reduces risks related to hidden hazardous items and situations. It improves the perception of potential risks and helps people to behave, like walking on the pedestrian reserved lanes.
Cleanliness make abnormalities visible, thus prevent risks like slipping on spills.
Decluttering prevents tripping or piled items falling down.
5S came (back) to the West in the heyday of Total Quality Management, when improving quality was a matter of keeping up with japanese competitors. Quality work and making quality product is not compatible with messy, dirty workplace.
In a cluttered and dirty place it is more likely to have quality defects, like for instance scratches or stain on a panel. Many such quality issues require painstaking rework or even part replacement, which are both wastes.
A screw, nut or bolt can go unnoticed on a dirty and cluttered workbench, leading easily to be forgotten on (re)assembly.
In a 5S environment, items and information can be found immediately without lengthy searches. Saving time is important for reactivity and for adding more valuable and/or enjoyable activities.
In a true 5S work environment, it is possible to share more tools, jigs and fixtures or files because everything is better organized and made visible. More sharing means less buying, thus saving unnecessary expenses.
True 5S workplace requires less space, which in turn requires less walking or transportation and possibly monetary savings.
In 5S places, fewer material gets lost and there is no need for frequent replacement or duplicate inventories.
“High performance companies are beautiful” says my boss, suggesting a tight correlation between the care to keep the company tidy, clean – and generally speaking good looking – and operational performance.
A good 5S image gives confidence to customers, partners, investors and talents, while it provides pride to employees and representatives.
The outlook of a company accounts much more than generally thought in suppliers’ assessments or audits. Poor condition will make auditors suspicious and look closer to details.
Customers will probably be reluctant to buy from a poor looking supplier, fearing that quality or even safety of the goods or services will reflect the company’s look.
5S helps to use just required quantities, which consumes lesser raw materials and energy, reduces waste, sewage, pollution and the like.
5S workplace are less likely to have pollution issues by accident or lack of rigor/discipline.
Tidy smaller workplaces require fewer air conditioning or heating, less lighting.
Constantly cleaned areas are easier to keep clean and require less aggressive chemicals to remove smear and stains.
This is not greenwashing but concrete actions.