The concept of Lean Principles is often over-complicated, hiding the true value Lean can have in all types of organisations. Lean tools can be effectively used in a variety of industries to assist in enabling organisations to meet their strategic objectives.
The principle of Lean is to run an organization where the greatest possible customer satisfaction is provided using as few resources as possible. This results in improved revenue and reduced costs – meeting most organisational objectives.
5S (Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain) is a Lean methodology originally conceptualised in Japan. 5S is used to create an organized and productive working environment, where there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. This can vary from tools, spares, inventory, documents to templates.
An example of 5S not being applied
A high-speed consumer goods production line stops running in a factory due to a breakdown on a critical machine. A mechanical artisan assesses the machine and determines that a part has fractured and needs replacing.
The artisan goes to the factory’s spares storage facility, tells the attendant the part number and waits 10 minutes while it is located. With the new part in hand, the artisan returns to the machine and assesses how to remove the fractured part. To do it, he needs a 16mm spanner.
However, his toolbox was moved by another artisan without his knowledge. He looks for it, finds it, then searches in it for the 16mm spanner. Once found, he sends an operator to a parallel production line to borrow a torch, as the fractured part is in a dark section of the machine. After 25 minutes, the part is changed, and the machine and production line are running again.
If 5S was successfully implemented in the same example
After the production line stops running and the artisan has diagnosed the problem, he gives the stores attendant the part number, and receives the spare in under 2 minutes as the spare is indexed and stored accurately according to part number, making it easier for the attendant to locate.
The toolbox is not missing because it’s in its allocated place for the artisan’s shift and has clear, separate positions for each tool. The 16mm spanner is found in a matter of seconds in its dedicated position. The machine is recognized as having many inaccessible-to-light points, so a torch is permanently positioned at the machine’s work station. The part is changed, and the machine and production line are running again after a downtime of eight minutes.
Replacing the part using 5S is easier and more efficient for all parties involved, with the production line running for an additional 17 minutes during that shift compared to a non-5S approach.
The 17 minutes saved is not due to advanced equipment or software, but a low capital, disciplined process and culture.
5S applied in various environments
At a procurement office, clients know exactly who to contact for a procurement request – the information is clearly advertised on the website with user-friendly instructions on how to complete a business case for proposal. All business cases are stored in a designated folder – categorized clearly – with the transaction owner identified according to transaction category.
The templates used to complete the bidding request are stored in another folder, with instructions on exactly how to complete the template. On the template, it is clearly defined how authorization for the bid request document is achieved, and the maximum time it will take to receive a decision. Meeting times for the evaluation committees are clearly defined, and the meeting rooms are always booked for the allocated time. There is a clear and precise process for the evaluation committee to follow, depending on the bid type, so bid evaluations are effective and efficient.
These are all examples of how 5S can improve operational efficiency and improve customer satisfaction. A place for everything and everything in its place. 5S is just one of the many Lean tools that can be used to improve an organizations efficiency and effectiveness.
Effectively implementing Lean tools is the biggest challenge in becoming a successfully Lean organization. Letsema can assist you in implementing Lean Principles by:
- Identifying key areas where Lean Principles will make the greatest positive impact to your organization;
- Train your employees at all levels on the applicable Lean principles to ensure full organisational buy-in;
- With your employees and our Lean expertise, develop a Lean principle implementation plan resulting in improved performance;
- Execute implementation with all employees involved in plan development. This leads to sustainable buy-in from employees who will champion the Lean principles; and
- Track improvement through visual management, provide clear improvement visibility, and improving organisational culture and commitment;
Please contact the Letsema’s Supply Chain Management team for more information.