Here at Lomont Molding LLC – we’re always looking for new innovative ways to increase the efficiency of current processes or implement new ones. One system that has become increasingly popular for manufacturers to adapt their processes around is 5S. The 5S system is commonly acknowledged to be a product of LEAN manufacturing however can be implemented outside of the rest of LEAN principles.
The 5S process effectively simply an overall analyzation of a workplace and rules put in place for the functions of that workplace to maximize efficiency. A fully functional 5S workplace will focus on the organization, cleanliness, continued development and productivity of the environment.
5S especially could be considered a foundation that a manufacturer should have in place to support further LEAN principle implementation. So, how do you start with 5S? It’s advised to have a team set in place for implementation and maintaining 5S processes. This will ensure that there are parties responsible for every stage so that there is accountability to maintain momentum and continued support post-implementation.
Getting started with 5S involves identifying your specific target for its implementation. This is key to 5S – narrowing down the area you want to focus on and being specific. This allows you to avoid ending up with a small project for one area branching out and becoming overly complex/demanding that it either takes too long, becomes too costly, or simply gets abandoned. Ideally you will set exact physical boundaries of the space being affected by one 5S process improvement target.
This is where you get into the concepts that 5S is named for.
Sort – This is the initial part of any organization movement. Identify the necessary required items/equipment/etc for daily use. Sort all items in the targeted area via their priority and necessity. Discard or find a better place for items that are unused or infrequently needed.
Store – Ensure that you have effective storage systems for all identified necessary items in the workspace. These systems should again – be implemented under the idea of maximizing productivity and efficiency. Ease of access, proper labeling, and inventory tracking are examples of how you should prioritize your storage.
Shine – As you move along through the 5S process – it’s important to ensure you’re focusing on cleanliness as these changes are implemented. Beginning with an exceptionally clean environment will set an initial standard that you should then have a system in place to maintain.
Standardize – Consider this as a sort of recap for the first three steps of 5S. Once you complete the steps it’s important to make them a continuing standard as mentioned above under “Shine”. Ideally you should schedule cleaning that meets the standards set in the initial implementation and conduct regular reviews of the organization that was done. This will also help to identify weaknesses in any of your organization or processes that will help you to improve where needed.
Sustain – This is the most important part to not take any backward steps after you have done all the hard work of implementing 5S. Systems should be put in place to maintain all the new standards you created through 5S throughout the workspace.
It’s extremely important to note – that the success of 5S is heavily dependent on attitude and regular training. The idea is that the workplace culture will need to be in place to support positive change and maintenance of a reformed efficient work environment. Good communication is also a key point as well that 5S will need to be successful.
Here at Lomont – we are growing rapidly and consistently adapting to an ever changing and competitive market. Industry 4.0 is becoming more and more defined and manufacturers who are not ready to embrace the change that it brings will generally find themselves stagnant or struggling to maintain business.
The standards for quality and on time delivery are becoming higher every day as technology continues to advance. Lomont Molding is continuously investing in-itself to be sure that it is always looking at new ways to improve our ability to provide on-time delivery, quality product, and customer satisfaction. 5S process is one that we’ve begun to use as we continue to look towards the future.