Operational Excellence is the strategy, business philosophy which helps you to continuously improve business processes, system to achieve maximum efficiency, productivity, quality, and profitability. This is achieved through operational excellence by systematic and disciplined approach to identify and eliminate waste, reduce variation and creating more values for customers. Operational excellence is a journey and not a destination which requires dedicated and continued commitment from all levels of organization.
To achieve Operational Excellence, organizations can use various methodologies, and one of the most popular is the 5S approach. 5S is a Japanese methodology that involves organizing the workplace to reduce waste, improve efficiency, and increase safety.
What is 5S System / 5S Methodology?
The name “5S” comes from five Japanese words that represent the five stages of the methodology: Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Set in Order), Seiso (Shine), Seiketsu (Standardize), and Shitsuke (Sustain). The 5S System is a standardized process when properly implemented in the company creates and maintains an organized, safe, secure, clean, and efficient workplace.
1S Seiri (Sorting): In sorting stage, we remove unwanted items from our workplace. This is an action to identify and eliminate all unnecessary items from the workplace.
2S Seiton/Set In Order: Set in order is the activity in which we put the necessary items in their place and providing easy access. In short “Place for Everything, Everything in a place”.
3S Seiso/ Shine: Shine stage involves cleaning everything, keeping it clean daily, and using cleaning to inspect the workplace and equipment for defects. This is an action to clean the workplace daily.
4S Seikets/Standardization: Standardization involves creating visual controls and guidelines for keeping the workplace organized, orderly and clean. This is a condition where a high standard of good housekeeping is maintained. The first three S’s are often executed by order, but “Standardization” runs parallel with each ‘S’.
5S Shitsuke/Sustain: Sustain stage involves training and discipline to ensure that everyone follows the 5S standards. This is a condition where all members practice the first four S’s spontaneously and willingly as a way of life. Accordingly, it becomes the culture in the organization.
5S System Benefits:
Benefits to be derived from implementing a 5S System include:
- Improved safety
- Lower defect rates
- Reduced costs
- Increased production and flexibility
- Improved employee morale
- Better asset utilisation
- Enhanced enterprise image to customers, suppliers, employees, and management
Benefits of starting Operational Excellence journey with 5S:
Starting your operational excellence journey with 5S system can provide number of benefits to your organization.
1. Increased Efficiency:
- Increasing the industrial output is the basic aim for any manufacturing establishment. Greater productivity symbolizes an efficient work structure and this can be made possible by implementing the 5S strategy.
- Getting rid of needless items around the workplace alone can help enhance the productivity potential of a company.
- A clutter-free workspace can help avoid chaos, helping factory owners in saving valuable time and preventing losses due to mistakes.
- Since the workers do not have to waste time in looking for things scattered around the workplace, they are in a better position to focus their time and energy in producing better results for the company.
2. Customer Delight :
- In case of project-based company, customer visits to your factory to multiple times for business purpose. The very first time to check your manufacturing capability in terms of technology, manpower, factory setup, systems, and process etc.
- At this point of time, 5S is the only protector as 5S helps you to build confidence in customers’ mind that your company is capable to build product for them. Thus, the 5S helps you to get business.
3. Minimum Wastage:
- One of the cardinal rules of maximizing profits is to introduce a working process that minimizes wastage due to error or disorganization. Wastage adds to a business’ financial burden.
- Following the 5S model, not only can the factory management put a cap on the losses incurred due to wastage but can also channelize the earned profits into greater benefits for the employees.
- As part of the 5S philosophy, businesses are required to keep the workspace organized and keep a tab on any affected, lost, or missing items. Moreover, putting labels on compartments and storage spaces can help employees in familiarizing themselves with the space allocated for each item and put it in the right place. This diminishes the chances of things getting misplaced, saving the time and effort the workers would have put in locating them.
- Regular maintenance and standardizing the work procedures within the factory can go a long way in reducing wastage and helping the business cut back on costs in the longer run.
4. Motivated Workforce:
- The sustenance and standardization of the practices in place under the 5S system are made possible with contributions from all employees, no matter where in the organizational hierarchy they may be placed.
- When workers belonging to different departments of the organization come together, they bring their own expertise to the table and enable the 5S plan to be a success. This implies that 5S is a working strategy that encourages greater teamwork and commitment from the factory workers.
5. Platform for Continuous Improvement:
- 5S is a platform that not only takes the organization’s performance to the next level but also lays the groundwork for further enhancements to be made in the workplace.
- It brings a much-needed stability to the business, making it possible for the management to maintain its progressive approach and incorporate further improvements.
6. Structure and Discipline:
- Many organizations start their lean program with 5S because it is a necessary fundamental discipline, and builds and demonstrates a culture of self-discipline.
- Why is self-discipline necessary here? Because of two reasons; it is required to follow the standards, and it forms the basis for further process improvement.
- 5S is more than a process or a system; it has to be adopted by all as a culture or mindset.
7. Pride and Ownership:
Once we start 5S activities at our workplace, it provides us the feeling of pride and ownership.
8. Safer Work Environment:
- It is not uncommon for factories to experience unforeseen accidents that not only result in workplace casualties but also bring bad repute to the business. These accidents can be caused by several factors including a mismanaged work mechanism, lack of maintenance of the industrial equipment and exposure to potentially hazardous materials.
- The 5S strategy takes all these situations under consideration and suggests solutions that are compulsory to avoid mishaps at the workplace.
- Cleanliness in and around the manufacturing plant is essential to minimize safety concerns.
Implementing 5S is an effective first step towards achieving Operational Excellence in your organization. By organizing your workplace and standardizing your processes, you can improve efficiency, reduce waste, and increase safety. The benefits of 5S implementation are numerous and have been demonstrated in various industries.
If you are looking to improve your organization’s performance and achieve Operational Excellence, then implementing 5S is a great place to start. Start by identifying the areas in your organization that could benefit from 5S implementation and involve your employees in the planning and implementation process. Provide training on the methodology and its benefits and establish a plan for ongoing maintenance and improvement.
By implementing 5S, you can create a culture of continuous improvement and achieve significant benefits in terms of efficiency, quality, and safety.
Don’t wait, act now and start your Operational Excellence journey with 5S.