5S Organization and Quality Program
The main objective of 5S is to create a favorable environment for the effective development of business processes
During the Post-War period, Japan needed to immediately restructure itself economically. This would not be an easy task, due to the scarcity of raw materials in the country and the inferiority of its products when compared to European and American products at that time.
The economic alternative found was to invest directly in production models, which gave rise to the so-called Quality Programs. These were, basically, interventions in production, for verification, process facilitation and problem-solving.
The result of applying the Quality Programs was surprising, placing Japan on the map of the world economy. With the Programs, the quality of Japanese products increased considerably, without a significant increase in production costs, making them highly competitive in the international market of the 1970s.
One factor that was fundamental to the effectiveness of the programs was the 5S organization model. This model has a direct impact on the productivity and safety of the work environment, as it explores the organization’s physical, intellectual and social dimensions. The main objective of 5S is to create a favorable environment for the effective development of business processes.
5S and its meaning
5S comes from the 5 Japanese words, starting with S, which symbolize the fundamental principles of the organization of the environment: Seiri (Use), Seiton (Order), Seiso (Cleanliness), Seiketsu (Hygiene) and Shitsuke (Self-discipline). Below, we detail each one of them in more detail.
- Seiri — Usage
Leave evaluate in the work environment only what is necessary for its development. It basically consists of using to evaluate resources with common sense, identifying tools, materials, equipment, and data essential to the work, and eliminating or properly disposing of what is unnecessary. This sense also extends to essential and expendable tasks or procedures, which must be identified and separated in the work process.
The habit of saving things is natural for humans, and we usually find mental barriers to discarding something. There are some ways to break down these barriers, including two very simple ones: The first is to create the habit of periodically separating what is useful from what is useless, promoting a general organization day. The second way is to enable the sharing of resources between teams, generating a greater sense of responsibility for what is useful or not in the work environment.
- Seiton — Ordination
The physical and systematic arrangement for the functionality of the workplace is developed, organizing it in order to make it more practical for the development of activities. This basically consists of placing resources in order to facilitate the flow of people, information and materials, in addition to defining appropriate rental for each thing, so that access to them is facilitated. Seiso is nothing more than a desktop optimizer.
At this point, the team needs to create organizational habits, such as keeping tools and resources in an easily accessible place, always returning them to that rental after use. The sense of ordering can also be facilitated by applying one of the various inventory management methods, which we have already talked about here on our blog.
- Seiso — Cleaning
Keep the work environment clean. The importance of Seiso lies in the fact that the dirt in the environment not only causes damage to the health and integrity of workers, but also to equipment, which can suffer from failures or defects. The main philosophy of this sense is not necessarily to clean the environment, but to avoid making it dirty as much as possible.
Seiso also extends to the information and data essential for carrying out the work, which must be stored correctly and constantly updated. This prevents dispersed or inaccurate data from affecting decision-making in the company.
- Seiketsu — Hygiene
Health and integrity. Seiketsu is based on the idea of keeping the environment free of polluting agents or agents that are harmful to physical or psychological health. This sense encompasses the sanitary issue of environments, the personal hygiene of workers and also interpersonal relationships, which must occur without intrigue and in an ethical manner. Seiketsu aims to reduce or eliminate any procedure or condition harmful to the health of the team and the development of the work.
The Sense of Hygiene is also essential to ensure the maintenance of the initial 3S, as it encourages everyone’s adherence and commitment to its activities. One way to achieve Seiketsu is by taking care of the health of employees with PPE, periodic exams and regular physical exercise programs.
- Shitsuke — Self-discipline
It consists of education and commitment to keep the previous 4S in constant program, shaping the teams’ habits to the new structure model. This generates a cyclic movement of organization that repeats itself indefinitely.
The implementation of Shitsuke is the most laborious of all, as it involves behavior change. Ways to facilitate the team’s adhesion to the Sense of Self-discipline involve the company’s values and vision, which must be understood and shared by the entire team. This commitment is essential in the successful program of 5S in its entirety.
Shitsuke also refers to the use of this philosophy in personal and professional life, and its consolidation in the company determines that the change in values is rooted in the entire organization.