The 5S technique is part of a broader set of management practices known as visual management or visual control. Although these tools are often used by organizations that employ Lean management or the Toyota Production System, they can be used by any organization seeking to optimize workspaces and processes. 5S can be implemented without technology to support it, but our clients have found that the digital approach can smooth the process and amplify the results.
The Basics of 5S
5S is a workplace organization method that uses a list of five words to describe how a workspace can be organized for maximum efficiency and productivity. Each of the words starts with the letter “S” in both English and Romanized Japanese.
Sort (Seiri): Keep only what is regularly used in each work area
Straighten (Seiton): Arrange the space so employees can find exactly what they need to use in less than 30 seconds
Shine (Seiso): Ensure that the workplace and equipment are ready for immediate use
Standardize (Seiketsu): Each job is done in the same way and everyone is responsible for offering ideas to improve it
Sustain (Shitsuke): Creating an efficient, effective, and safe workplace is everyone’s responsibility
Although the focus of 5S is
- Fewer errors
- Consistently perfect results
- A faster path to high-quality products
- Improved safety
- Reduced costs
Why Go Digital
Implementing a software based 5S tool helps speed the path to the best possible workspace arrangement. The most important benefits include:
An easy way for employees to report opportunities for improvement – Your 5S tool serves as the repository for each employee idea on how the workplace could be more efficient. The best solutions are cloud-based and offer mobile applications so that employees can enter their suggestions or concerns while they are in the workspace.
A place to keep Standard work and other relevant documents and images – 5S software makes it easy for workers to access any information they need about the workspace and the process that occur within it. Diagrams and photos that document and direct workplace setup are always accessible by anyone who needs them.
Project management support – Team members can receive notifications and alerts when tasks are due and managers get alerts when progress stalls.
A way to measure the impact of 5S – In order to get people excited about 5S and to see it spread through the organization, it is important to measure the key performance indicators before 5S is implemented and then after at regular intervals. The best 5S tools make it easy to calculate the results of the technique.
Digital 5S tools are used by organizations of all types to eliminate waste, speed the path to value, and help employees excel in their work. It’s no wonder that they are so popular.