Applying 5S series – (Part V) The last two S: Seiketsu and Shitsuke

Information BoardIn previous posts, I introduced the 5S methodology and explained the first three 5S (Seiri, Seiton and Seiso). At this point in the process, we have sorted everything, set them in order and cleaned the whole place to eliminate sources or dirt. Now it is time to talk about standardization and self-discipline.

Fourth S – Seiketsu – Standardization
Standardization is a crucial point in the 5S process and also in every maintenance and industrial activity. Without standardization every person that we entrusted can do the same task differently. Most of the time the quality and effectiveness of the achieved result also differ. That is why it is important to establish clear procedures for all tasks, even in cleaning activities.
As we stated in step 3, checklists, spreadsheets, and self-auditing forms should be available at the time of doing the job. The procedures should have the same format and style, be graphical, and have detailed pictures, especially in complex equipment. Sometimes it is difficult to talk about a specific component within the system, probably it does not have an univocal name.
Many times, while designing maintenance plans, I realized that using text is not enough to clearly specify which part should be inspected, so I designed and hung a picture with the references to be used in all maintenance work orders.
Back to the methodology, each team or person will do a self-evaluation using the document we provide them with. However, we should designate a couple of auditors to check that the tasks are being developed with the same standards. They should identify the best and worst teams and find out the motive for the best team’s performance. Then, teach that knowledge to the rest of the teams. In this way, we create our own best practices based on the best performing teams.

Fifth S: Shitsuke – Self-discipline
The main problem when we implement a change in people’s habits is that it is seen as extra work. Additional work is always the first to be cancelled when something else happens that needs more attention. Considering a manufacturing and maintenance environment, there is always something that requires our attention so, at the end, changes are diluted after successive postponements.
To try to minimize this issue, some good tips are:

  • Get the management involved. They are the first ones to cancel 5S activities when there are other things under their responsibility that need to be done (this is an obvious choice since they have to chose between “this new thing” and their original duties). One effective way to avoid this is to assign 5S as a clear management responsibility. Of course, we cannot assign that responsibility ourselves, this can be done when the 5S implementation are supported by the higher management.
  • Schedule 5S activities in the same way that maintenance tasks. If it is possible, add a similar work order to the paperwork for the activities.
  • Keep an information board updated with the latest information and schedules. Pay attention to this because if the board has old information, it will transmit a message that 5S is not getting the same attention as before.
  • Set a cancellation protocol to follow in case that people need to postpone 5S activities.
  • Audit the 5S activities and put the results in the boards. If there are some places where cleaning activities have been skipped, that information should be displayed because no manager likes to see his department on the black list.

Implementing 5S in a place is a continuous activity. As the process moves forward, cleaning activities and their frequencies will be shorter and optimized. It is important to keep things running because in this kind of process, if we do not take advantage of the initial motivation and impulse and run the process smoothly, it is difficult to transform the new way of work into a consistent habit.

Have a look at the pictures comparing the place before and after applying 5S

Before and After

What is your experience? How standardized are your activities and tasks? Are cleaning activities schedule as maintenance work at your company? Have you implemented 5S at your workplace?
Please share your viewpoint

Thanks for reading

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