Tools Needed to Implement a 5S Program
Efficiency is critical in any organization as it allows you to maximize your resources and profits. But how exactly do you achieve it? Generally, the key is to streamline your processes to reduce costs and increase output. If you’re not sure where to begin, the 5S methodology is one of the best frameworks you can use to create a safer and more efficient workplace.
So, what is 5S? And what tools do you need to implement it in your company? Read more to find the answers to these key questions to get started in designing and executing a 5S program.
What is 5S?
5S is a widely used quality tool that helps improve efficiency, productivity, and safety in the workplace. This framework consists of five main steps originating from Japanese terms that begin with the letter S:
- Seiri (sort) – Sort through everything in the workplace to remove unnecessary items that can take up space
- Seiton (set in order) – Organize and label the sorted items logically for quick access and use in each space
- Seiso (shine) – Clean the sorted and organized workspace thoroughly and create a regular cleaning schedule for maintenance
- Seiketsu (standardize) – Implement a set of standards on how the workforce can continue to apply the first three steps
- Shitsuke (sustain) – Sustain the new practices and conduct regular audits to maintain consistency
Benefits of Implementing a 5S Program
5S is a highly valuable framework that adopts the “lean” philosophy to create an organized and clutter-free workplace. In turn, this leads to many other benefits, including the following:
- Increased Efficiency. Efficiency is undoubtedly the top benefit of 5S. You naturally optimize your employee’s workflow and maximize time by eliminating distractions and putting things in the right place. As a result, you’ll be able to get more work done in less time.
- Reduced Waste. 5S helps reduce waste in many ways. First, proper labeling and organization prevent idle time or wasted motion from looking for things. It also makes problems easier to detect and fix before they get worse. Second, proper maintenance keeps your equipment in pristine condition, ultimately prolonging its lifespan.
- Enhanced Safety. Another significant benefit of implementing 5S is enhanced workplace safety. For example, regular cleaning helps eliminate hazards like slippery floors to prevent accidents and injuries. Other hazards can also be marked with visual indicators like signs or labels to notify employees and ensure they take proper precautions.
- Higher Employee Morale. Employees are more likely to feel motivated when they work in a clean environment and can focus on finishing critical tasks. Also, involving employees in the 5S planning and implementation process will help them feel valued and may lead to longer-term commitment.
Tools Needed to Implement 5S Programs
As beneficial as a 5S program plan may be for organizations, proper implementation is key to getting good results. Fortunately, since this framework is a component of visual management, there are several tools to enforce each step effectively. Check them out below to ensure a smooth 5S program implementation.
Red tags are helpful for the sort (seiri) step, as they allow you to categorize items easily. While they’re often used to mark items no longer needed, you can also use them for “uncertain items.” This category includes items you think aren’t necessary but aren’t sure if they should be thrown away.
The red tag allows you to note information like who, when, and why the item was tagged. After sorting, you can move all the red-tagged items into a holding area and assign someone to review them after a specific time. Once reviewed, the person in charge will decide if the item is needed or can be discarded.
Labels and Signs
Labels are one of the simplest yet most effective tools to implement a 5S program. You can label everything in the workplace, from drawers to shelves to storage units. With a proper labeling system, employees can quickly locate items and put them back where they belong.
On the other hand, signs are essential for any 5S safety program. They provide visual reminders for employees to warn them of potential dangers. In addition, signs come in various shapes, sizes, colors, and fonts, so you can easily tailor them based on your needs.
Floor markings are a staple in many organizations, especially offices and production facilities. They serve many purposes, depending on the nature of your work environment. In most cases, they provide directions to employees to control foot traffic and promote easy navigation. Other times, they’re used to mark specific areas in the workplace.
Shadow boards can be used for the set-in-order (seiton) and sustain (shitsuke) phases in your 5S program. These are essentially boards containing an outline of tools to help employees figure out where to return them or see if anything’s missing. You can easily create one by getting a pegboard and tracing each tool in its respective spot to leave a silhouette.
Investing in an industrial printer makes it easier to implement 5S program. It allows you to print signs and labels readily instead of making them from a third-party supplier, so it’s much quicker and more cost-effective. In addition, you can customize the signs to your desired look for better consistency and organization.
Create an Effective 5S Program for Employee and Workplace Safety with Cobra Systems
As highlighted above, 5S programs offer tons of benefits to all types of companies, but it’s not always the easiest to implement. You’ll need an excellent 5S program and engaged employees to ensure everyone is on board and follows the new practices. This is where the professionals at Cobra Systems come in.
To help you with your 5S program implementation, Cobra Systems offers a range of industrial labels and sticker printer solutions to organize your workplace, regardless of industry. Our printers are easy to use, allowing you to create high-quality custom signs and labels without any PC. For more information on our devices and products, contact us today at 800-262-7298.