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Five 5s Manufacturing Resolutions for 2020

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon, January 13, 2020


5s Manufacturing is like mixing feng shui and spring cleaning with other Lean practices to amp up productivity and safety while preventing time, cost and resource waste. Sounds a lot like a New Year’s resolution, doesn’t it? The methodology behind 5s manufacturing hinges on creating highly-visual, systemic workflows and maintaining work conditions to achieve the following goals:

  • Cleanliness
  • Organization
  • Maximum efficiency
  • Less time/resource/material waste

Whether you’ve already started to implement 5s manufacturing or are thinking about making significant changes in 2020, we have the perfect list of resolutions to help you achieve higher output and lower operating costs:

5s Manufacturing Resolutions for 2020

1. If you haven’t already, get more familiar with 5s manufacturing practices.

Begin with a detailed audit of the current work conditions, workflows and processes to identify inefficiencies. Next, think of ways to apply the five “S’s” in 5s manufacturing:

  1. Sort: Sort materials in a workspace. Keep only what is essential to the task. Dispose of or reorganize non-essential materials.
  2. Set in Order: Logically organize the remaining materials. Think ergonomics, linear process, etc.
  3. Shine: Clean newly organized space. Create a routine protocol for maintaining order and cleanliness (including machine maintenance).
  4. Standardize: Create an SOP for maintaining the workspace and completing the task to standardize all activities that take place within that space. Schedules. Charts. Lists.
  5. Sustain: Conduct audits and implement a discipline/reward system for compliance with standardizations.

2. Reevaluate standardized processes.

Better doesn’t always mean best, especially when referring to complicated manufacturing processes. The ultimate goal of 5s manufacturing is to continuously improve operations. To do this, you must reassess your activities periodically throughout the year. Ask yourself questions, such as:

  • What could we be doing better?
  • Are there new tools, technologies or products that can elevate our productivity?
  • Are there steps in a process that can be consolidated or automated to increase efficiency?
  • Is the system for maintaining cleanliness and organization working?

3. Prioritize and implement the elusive 6th “s.”

Surprisingly, safety is not a part of the original 5s methodology. However, as a crucial component of your success, protective measures should inform all matters of 5s manufacturing, including organization, process development and maintenance. Where can safety be improved in your operations?

4. Update visual cues to reduce confusion.

Consider where production bottlenecks or process miscommunications arose this year and consider how visuals might help to improve workflows. Use color to attract attention to the visual direction, but make sure the colors you choose make sense for the activity. For example —

Green is universally accepted as a visual cue for:

  • Go
  • Increase
  • Positive
  • Good

Red is universally accepted as a visual cue for:

  • Stop
  • Decrease
  • Negative
  • Bad

Also, consider using the following visuals:

  • Floor markings to create boundaries/work cells
  • Pictures and diagrams to explain processes
  • Signs to point out key locations
  • Color coding to organize tools or activities.

5. Create an internal communications campaign to remind employees about the five s’s.

5s manufacturing isn’t just a methodology: it’s a cultural shift in behavior. Unfortunately, modifying how a large body of people think and operate requires repeated explanations and ample training. Create flyers and posters to promote the five s’s. Distribute information about why the five s’s are important. Ask all employees to review and sign a commitment to the process. Incorporate 5s thinking into onboarding and training. Lastly, invite employees to be a part of the reform process. As the people most familiar with each workspace environment, they represent a crucial perspective.

iCONN Systems employs several Lean-inspired manufacturing practices to provide customers with faster cycle times and small-batch capability while reducing waste and advocating for workplace safety.

Company Reduces Costs, Improves Processes Through Reengineering