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The 5S Tool in Six Sigma is a Superpower

Just what is the 5S tool? This Six Sigma tool is a workplace organization methodology that helps reduce waste and improve productivity. 5S stands for the Japanese words that describe step by step the workplace organization process (and all the words start with an s).

Sort (seiri): Get rid of any thing that you do not need in the workspace. Anything that doesn’t serve a purpose — get rid of it.  If you apply the Pareto principle to sorting out what you need, it might help you establish the correct mindset. The Pareto principle states that 80% of any outcome is the direct result of 20% of the input. So ask yourself: what do you truly need and what purpose does it serve in your business processes?

Straighten (seiton): Having a neat and tidy workspace can save you time, money and increase the quality of any product or service. Any time you remove an excess barrier from any workspace, your focus improves tremendously, and it’s that focus that directly affects the quality of the end result.

Shine (seiso): Keeping something clean is different from keeping something tidy. Keep a well-lit workspace. Make sure you establish the root cause of dust and dirt, and develop a process that will ensure this is maintained. Keep a log of daily cleaning process.

Standardize (seiketsu): Set up a standard that makes sense, use color codes, and make visual displays of the high standard of maintenance. When you standardize, you will immediately reduce variations. Invest time in setting up standardization, and it will prove beneficial over the long haul.

Sustain (shitsuke): It is important to have the mindset of maintaining this new level of responsibility. The participation of everyone is necessary, because it only takes one bad apple to hinder the morale of the entire team. Continuous audits are in order. Get to the root causes of problems so that sustaining this new high-level process will be easier.

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