The fourth step in a 5S System is to Standardize. In this step you will set in place the rules and policies that support the first three steps, Sort, Straighten and Shine. A 5S System will only work if it is followed.
To carry out the first three steps you should already have a support system in place. Such as designated areas, proper marking of areas, a log of what goes where and other parts of a support structure mentioned in the first three steps. These should all be standardized so that it is clear to everyone what the support system is.
Schedule 5S Activities
By scheduling regular 5S activities you will make it part of the work routine. The goal is to make 5S a habit for your employees. It may take a few reminders, but before long employees will be starting their 5S steps without supervision. You should always participate and follow-up to make sure everyone is doing their part.
Establish a Daily Schedule
At the end of each work day, have employees take 15 minutes to perform micro versions of the Sort, Straighten and Shine steps. At the end of the day the workspace should be clear of items that do not belong there; clean, organized and ready to start work the next day.
- Sort through the workspace and remove anything that does not belong.
- Straighten up by putting everything back in its place.
- Shine the workspace by cleaning, taking out the trash and sweeping.
Establish a Monthly Schedule
With employees following the daily schedule you should only need to do major 5S activities once a month. I prefer to do it on the last Friday of each month. You should plan ahead for the event by making a list of all activities that need to be done. Make sure you have all of the supplies needed and that everyone is aware of what their tasks are.
Standardize for Safety
One of the benefits of a 5S System is it makes the workplace safer. Protecting the health and well-being of your employees is part of your job. You should make sure that any needed safety equipment is available and in designated areas. Items such as first aid kits, eye wash stations, fire extinguishers and all other safety gear should be available, clearly marked and known to everyone.
- Paint lines to mark off hazardous areas and to define safe walking zones.
- Put into place an emergency plan for fires, medical emergencies and natural disasters. Rehearse them often enough so that everyone knows what to do and where to go.
- Consider purchasing an automated external defibrillator (AED). According to the Red Cross more than 200,000 Americans die of sudden cardiac arrest every year. Up to 50,000 of these deaths could have been prevented. To find out more about an AED visit the Red Cross web site. The life you save could be your own!
Continuous Improvement of a 5S System
No system remains perfect. The workplace and workspaces change. The work being done changes. For whatever reason a 5S System must always be improved upon. You should regularly review your 5S System and look for ways to improve it. Have a meeting before each monthly 5S event to discuss and get feedback for improvement from employees.
Training and Documentation
A well developed 5S System must be well documented. Each step must detail what, when and where they are done. Logs must be maintained. Location maps must be updated. You should have both hard copy that can be put into a book, and softcopy that can be distributed or put on a company intranet.
New employees must be trained on the 5S System. You should develop training documentation for this purpose. Put up a 5S bulletin board to keep employees informed and aware of the 5S System and activities. Post before and after pictures, a schedule of activities, individual and team winners of 5S contests, and an overview of the system.
The goal of standardization is to put in place a system to support your 5S System. You will want to create a schedule for your 5S System with daily and monthly activities. You want to make it part of the routine so it becomes a habit for your employees.
A safe workplace is a benefit of a 5S System. You should maximize this benefit into a larger safety plan to ensure the health and safety of your employees. If parts of the workplace are hazardous, they should be properly marked and safe zones should be established and marked.
You should always look for ways to improve on your 5S System and support structure. Make improvement a team effort by getting feedback and suggestions from employees. Reward innovation and improvement to increase interest in the program.
Documentation of the 5S System will need to be constantly updated. You should create training documentation for new employees and establish a bulletin board to keep everyone aware and updated on the program.
The last step in a 5S System is the Sustain step. This is about developing the self-discipline to make a 5S System work and create a culture to support it. Look for the last article in this series soon.