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6Sigma Tools: 5S

published on July 9, 2012

6Sigma is all about identifying and eliminating waste and one of the tools we use as we embark on this task is 5S. 5S is a Japanese method that deals with understanding where the waste comes from and how to deal to eliminate the waste by making the tools a practicable habit.

How does it work?

There are seven common elements of waste:

—  Correction-time spent on rework or additional work to correct first attempts.

—  Overproduction-producing more of the product/service than is necessary

—  Processing-processing work that has does not increase the speed or quality of the work.

—  Conveyance-Actions that do not directly contribute to the quality of the product/svc.

—  Inventory-excessive inventory

—  Motion-movement of people or machines that does not contribute anything of value to your product/service.

—  Waiting-time spent by staff/customers waiting for approvals or the end product that detracts from the value of the product/service.

The point of 5S is to minimize, ideally eliminate, as many of these waste areas as possible. 5S has the following steps and once you have nailed the first four, the fifth step is making that behavior a habit within your organization.

—  Sort (Seiri)-go through operations and remove any unnecessary items focus on time management.

—  Straighten (Seiton) – A place for everything and everything in its place.

—  Shine (Seiso) – Eliminate visual traps such as dirt, clutter, dust or scraps.

—  Standardize (Seiketsu)-Create a standard way of doing things and enforce it.

—  Self-Discipline (Shitsuke)- Make the other for S’s a habit and create an environment for it in your company.


So in the end it’s a great tool, but where do you start? Simple, you give us a call!

published on July 9, 2012


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