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5S Program Standardize

By Graphic Products Editorial Staff

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The fourth step in a 5S program is to make your 5S practices effective and efficient. This is accomplished by simplifying and standardizing. With the first three steps already completed, the effects and benefits of 5S can be seen. Time wasted looking for needed tools has been eliminated. Safety hazards from clutter and debris no longer exist. Early maintenance is keeping equipment online and producing needed products.

Turning Good Practices into Good Habits

The 5S practices developed in steps one through three should be standardized and made easy to accomplish. Develop a work structure, and written standards, that will support the new practices and turn them into habits. Every workplace is different, and it is likely that the 5S practices initially implemented can be improved. As you gain more experience with 5S in your workplace, update and modify your 5S standards to make each process simpler and easier.

One of the hardest steps in 5S is changing old work habits. It's easy for people to slip back into old habits. It’s what a person is familiar with. It feels comfortable. But, those habits probably need to be changed.

Use Standards to Change Habits

With standards established everyone knows what they are supposed to do, how they should be doing it, and when it needs to be done. In other words, standards produce new habits that result in 5S being effectively and efficiently implemented.

Making people aware of the new standards, and helping them to remember the new standards correctly, is commonly done using labels, signs, posters, and banners.

For example, use your DuraLabel printer to create large format signs, placards, and scoreboards. There is no need to pay the high cost of an outside service, and then wait for them to produce the 5S visual communication tools you need. You can make the 5S labels, signs and placards you need – quickly and easily – using the versatile DuraLabel printer you already are using to make safety, maintenance, operations, compliance, and traffic control labels and signs. With DuraLabel it's easy to make the labels and signs needed to support your 5S program.

Labels and signs are not just used to help workers remember standardized 5S practices. They are an integral part of every aspect of 5S. When you think 5S, think visual communication. For example:

  • Using visual cues is the most effective way to communicate needed information. That's why a shadow board, mentioned in the “5S Set in Order” step, is so effective.  It uses color labels in the shape of each tool to make identifying tool storage locations incredibly easy.
  • With 5S everything should be clearly marked and identified. Labels and signs are the best way to identify storage locations, work areas, equipment, tools, and separate pathways for foot and motorized traffic.
  • Labels and signs provide operating, cleaning, and preventive maintenance procedures at the locations where that information is most needed, on the equipment and machines.

Tools to Help Implement 5S Standards

Other tools that are used to help establish 5S standards include:

  • Checklists
  • Job cycle charts
  • Scheduling of "five-minute" 5S periods

5S Checklists

5S checklists are commonly used as an auditing tool to ensure the standards are being followed. A 5S checklist involves more than verifying that work areas are clean. For example, checklist items should include ensuring operating and maintenance practices that support 5S goals are being followed.

5S Job Cycle Charts

A job cycle chart lists each 5S task that is to be done in a work area, and gives the schedule (frequency cycle) for performing each task. Each task is either assigned to a particular worker, or to a job duty. An example of a job duty would be operating a machine. Whoever operates the machine that day, has the 5S task of cleaning that machine at the end of the shift.

Workers can then use the Job Cycle Chart as a checklist that identifies what they need to do and when it needs to be done.

Five Minute 5S Periods

A "Five Minute 5S Period" can be an intense, quick clean up (shine) of a work area, or it can look for abnormalities in all of the five steps of 5S. The goal is for 5S abnormalities to be spotted and immediate 5S action (sort, Set in Order, or shine) to be taken to correct the abnormality.

The "Five Minute 5S" does more than fix 5S problems. Its main objective is to train workers in the principles of 5S. Having workers do a "Five Minute 5S" helps them to focus on the priorities of 5S and to remember the principles that underlie a successful 5S program.

What's Next?

With the standardize step of 5S old habits are changed and new work practices established. The new practices are documented in written standards which ensure that 5S goals are achieved in an effective and efficient manner.

The Five S's: Sort » Set In Order » Shine » Standardize » Sustain

Check out our detailed overview of the 5S System.