5S Implementation for the Non-manufacturing sector

5s is another well known business process management principles and quality control certification and has got extensive support in the manufacturing sector. 5S works mostly towards removal of wasteful processes and products within an organization, and has been derived from the Japanese words seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. 5S has also found a lot of support in the Japanese manufacturing units and that is one of the key reasons for the high quality of products manufactured in Japanese factories.

In English the 5S are Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. Though the process has got branded as a 5S process, a closer look by consultants and management gurus have declared this process an amalgamation of best practices in business and have considered the process good enough to be ported to non-manufacturing units as well. The meaning of each process has been adapted to suit non-manufacturing units and they are explained below for easier understanding.

5S #1: Sort

Any office or non-manufacturing unit can first begin to sort out the items which are not related to any business process and red tag them and remove it from the premise to clear up space for processes that need to be done on a regular basis.

For example, it is better to move the large bunch of printing paper into the storage room for access later on instead of stacking then next to the printer. It is unlikely that you will need ALL the paper in one go. Such sorting in each portion of the work space not only frees up valuable space, but also helps in de-cluttering the office bearers minds and free up their time.

5S #2: Set in Order

The governing force being the process of setting in order is efficiency. Business managers can really think and create small processes within their work space which improves efficiency. For example, a draftsman should locate all his stationery within reachable distance but not put more pencils than required on an average day.

Similarly, a retail outlet counter should have all items required to serve a customer at the customer bay to improve efficiency. With a bit of planning the Set in Order step can enhance productivity and reduce confusion and wastage of time and resource to a large extent. Most organized people, use Set in Order not just in the work place, but also in their personal lives and you are likely to see this in action in their house and any other personal space.

5S #3: Shine

Godliness is next to cleanliness ( and vise versa) are really true. Clean office equipment even clean office tables and chairs can make a world of difference to the work atmosphere. Having responsibility to keep office areas and equipment clean can also help in developing a sense of ownership amongst the business managers and the equipment.

The process of Shine cannot be limited to manufacturing processes only. They are very much applicable to offices and non-manufacturing units as work gets done out of these places as well.

5S #4: Standardize

How often have you walked into Pizza Hut outlets and have been impressed by the standardized services and processes? The creation of such a large chain has only been possible by standardization of the best practices identified by the organization.

In spite of standardization, Pizza Huts across the world, have some unique point about each outlet. The reason is behind is that the employees are allowed to innovate within the process. Standardization in non-manufacturing processes is even more important as there is lesser number of automated machines and a number of processes are human-centric.

5S #5: Sustain

Amongst all the steps in the 5S Principal, the fifth is probably the toughest. Sustaining the set processes and then continuing to do so in an ongoing basis, requires a fair deal of discipline and audits. In fact, many consultants feel that it is easier to sustain the 5S code of conduct in a non-manufacturing environment as the business managers are more receptive to change than shop floor managers.

As explained above, it is quite easy to understand that 5S can definitely be used extensively within a non-manufacturing unit to improve efficiency of output of all managers.

Peter Peterka is President of Lean Six Sigma us. For additional information on Six Sigma Green Belt or other Six Sigma Black Belt programs contact Peter Peterka.

Author: Peter Peterka Google

Published 09/3/2008