5S and the Visual Workplace
5S is a methodology of organizing, cleaning, developing, and sustaining a productive work environment. The 5Ss are
- Sort: the act of removing all unnecessary items from the work area
- Straighten: organizing what is needed so everything has a home and its identity and location are clearly marked
- Scrub: cleaning everything
- Standardize: maintaining consistency in the visual workplace
- Sustain: maintaining improvements and continually improving upon them
A visual workplace is one with no clutter and better visibility of problems so that employees can be more proactive. Items such as tools, parts, documentation, and supplies can be easily located for quicker access. 5S alone is an extremely powerful improvement tool for productivity, quality, and safety, but also for general appearance and increased morale. Like kaizen, 5S is just part of lean.