Explaining the five S's

by Laurie Gorton
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Many techniques fit under the banner of Lean Manufacturing: benchmarking, best practices, just-in-time manufacturing, Six Sigma, 5S, statistical process control and visual factory, among others. The Lean Manufacturing strategy was developed first in Japan as part of a management philosophy derived mostly from the Toyota Production System.

In Lean Manufacturing, the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer is considered wasteful and, thus, a target for elimination.

5S deals specifically with workplace management. The five “S” words in Japanese and their English equivalents are: seiri (sort, tidiness, organization), seiton (set in order, orderliness), seiso (shiny clean, cleanliness), seiketsu (standards) and shitsuke (sustaining discipline). Often a sixth “S” is added: safety.

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