“Japanese factories are well-known for their cleanliness and orderliness. This results from their ability to instill a sense of responsibility and discipline into their workers, particularly at the plant level” (Ho 89). The industrial 5S Practice is a model developed in Japan, which is aimed at eliminating waste and creating the most productive and efficient working environment. ‘5S’ stand for five Japanese words and when translated into English, these words start from the letter ‘S’ as well. These words combined “do not really make up a system but a set of guidelines regarding how to improve a production process and maintain lasting high-quality performance” (Haghirian 7). The 5S Practice consists of the following elements:
Sort means removing unnecessary things and eliminating potential obstacles to make the work easier. This element also implies eliminating the possibility of being drawn away from work with unnecessary disturbing items;
Set in order means that all the elements of production are “put in order and organized and things are kept tidy and in a certain order” (Haghirian 8);
Shine is most commonly defined as cleaning all the items used at work and keeping the workplace clean and pleasant to work in all the time. More importantly, it helps prevent damage and loss of quality of the machines and other equipment;
Standardize is creating a highly standardized and integrated system of organization of all items. It helps maintain not only high standards of work processes and workplace organization, but also the general organized nature and orderliness;
Sustain is ensuring that 5S Practice is a long-term goal of the company. This can be done by means of regular audits and inspections as well as by personnel training.
Haghirian, Parissa. Understanding Japanese Management Practices. New York: Business Expert, 2010. Print.
Ho, Sam. "Japanese 5S Practice." Operations and Quality Management. London: International Thompson Business, 1999. 89-117. Print.