When I think of 5S, I normally think of tidy work areas that are free from clutter, obstacles, and are visually-organized.  I think of metal pegboards with hammers hanging in their own, customized spot, outlined around the hammer with tape lines so no one could ever mistake where that specific hammer should reside.

I think of red-tagged machinery and stock, stored away, and never in the way of workers.  I think of machinery that, just like Apple’s slogan “just work,” because they’ve been brought to a certain level of operation, and will be kept at that level for all to use.  No more downtime waiting for the glitchy cooling fan – because that worn belt was replaced with a new one.

One result of 5S that I always try to remember is regarding the mental and physical health of the workers.  5S makes them happier and less tired.  Why?  Because they don’t have to spend a percentage of their day digging through piles of materials to find a tool, nor do they have to take multiple trips back and forth to look for things – they just know where it all is.

This promotes a sense of confidence and security, because they can just focus on doing their job, not constantly doing housekeeping or playing “find the tool.” This improves morale, and motivates workers to come to their job.  This improved morale also, indirectly, promotes a higher workplace morale, and generates the kind of positive attitude you need to sustain lean in your facility.

Take the time to read up on 5S, lean, and any other concepts that will increase production efficiency, eliminate waste, and improve your company’s bottom line.

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