At the very beginning I should explain what is a 5S methodology. The 5S concept is a very practical tool that everyone in the workplace can be a part of. 5S involves assessing everything present in a space, removing what’s unnecessary, organizing things logically, performing housekeeping tasks, and keeping this cycle going. Organize, clean, repeat.
It was invented by Toyota Motor Company in the mid-20th century. 5S is considered a foundational part of the Toyota Production System because until the workplace is in a clean, organized state, achieving consistently good results is difficult. A messy working space can lead to mistakes, slowdowns in production, and even accidents, all of which interrupt operations and negatively impact a company.
Let’s take a look at each part of the 5S methodology:
1S – Seiri (Eng. Sort)
That’s the starting point, which is about getting rid of all the unnecessary stuff from your desk and the surroundings. All the stuff, which means those things that you don’t need and those that are on your desk for no reason, like bent clips or useless notes.
It’s very simple – if you are looking for something, it will be easier to find it in a small group of objects on your desk, than amidst a lot of necessary and unnecessary things. The same rule should be used while working on computer. You should keep your desktop clean, delete useless files, folders or web cookies.
2S – Seiton (Eng. Set in Order)
Simply – set all the tools needed for work in order. Once all the clutter is gone, you have more space on your desk, so you can now place the most necessary things around you. Try to set them the way that all of them are close at hand. You should also mark a place for a specific tool, so that you always know where it is.
3S – Seiso (Eng. Shine)
It can be said that while Seiri referred to rather considerable cleaning, Seiso concentrates on minor cleaning tasks. Under this third point we can find such tasks like wiping screen with a cloth, and also care for working in a tidy, hygienic place.
Seiso also refers indirectly to putting the documents back on their place or moving the old computer files to archives.
4S – Seiketsu (Eng. Standardize)
It’s the standardization of all the three above mentioned steps. Easy, isn’t it? The problem is, when 5S is new at a company, it’s easy to introduce the first three steps…and then slowly let things come back to the way they were before. Seiketsu systematizes everything that just happened and turns them into habits. Seiketsu assigns regular tasks, creates schedules, and posts instructions so these activities become routines.
5S – Shitsuke (Eng. Sustain)
In other words – self-improvement. You should try to be better in your work every day. Think continuously about what in your work can be improved, saved or made easier, so that you can do your job easier, faster, more effectively. Sustain is about making 5S a long-term program, not just an event or short-term project. Ideally, 5S becomes a part of an organization’s culture. And when 5S is sustained over time, that’s when businesses will start to notice continuous positive results.
Sounds quite pedantic, but the 5S methodology is actually the way to effectively organize your work, so finally it should result in saving your energy and time. Both are now being wasted for unnecessary things, but now you should at least have an impression which ones those are and try to eliminate them.