Ma in­te­nance Mat­ters

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS - By Nikhil Sharma

The Five S Method­ol­ogy takes its ori­gin from the Ja­panese con­cept of pro­duc­tion meth­ods. Known in Ja­pan as Kaizen (“Kai” is good, con­tin­u­ous, and “Zen” means wis­dom, change, im­prove­ment), and first launched by Toy­ota in the 1970s, Five S has since proved it­self to be the best way for com­pa­nies to ap­ply in­no­va­tions to the work­place, im­prove qual­ity and be­come more pro­duc­tive ( Me­dinilla, 2014, p. 5). The core of this method is a sys­tem­atic ap­proach to or­gan­ise and keep the work­place in the most ef­fec­tive and safest way ( Sarkar, 2006, p. 93). Teams own their pro­duc­tion en­vi­ron­ment, tak­ing care of their tools, sort­ing ev­ery­thing, stan­dar­d­is­ing their work, stream­lin­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, and en­forc­ing team dis­ci­pline through peer re­view ( Me­dinilla, 2014, p. 6).

In English the Five S Method­ol­ogy stands for:

Sort – Sort­ing only the ma­te­ri­als or in­ven­tory needed for each task at hand. It also makes the work­place safer by re­mov­ing mess ( Cud­ney, Furterer and Di­et­rich, 2013, p. 81). One of the ba­sics of this step is to use tag­ging for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion ( Cud­ney, Furterer and Di­et­rich, 2013, p. 81).

Straighten – Cre­ate an or­derly work­place where ev­ery­thing has its place. Un­der this step all items are to be placed in the best lo­ca­tion for point of use. This en­hances qual­ity by visu­ally iden­ti­fy­ing all ma­te­ri­als and cre­at­ing a cer­tain lo­ca­tion for them ( Cud­ney, Furterer and Di­et­rich, 2013, p. 81).

Shine – Ex­treme ef­forts to keep a clean work­place for func­tion­al­ity. In this step the area should be thor­oughly cleaned, which is sig­nif­i­cantly im­por­tant be­cause “a clean work en­vi­ron­ment pro­motes qual­ity work” ( Cud­ney, Furterer and Di­et­rich, 2013, p. 81).

Stan­dard­ise – Sim­i­lar and con­trolled task as­sign­ments that are uni­form. This step spec­i­fies fre­quency in­ter­vals to main­tain, keep and im­prove a well-or­gan­ised and clean work en­vi­ron­ment. It can be done by cre­at­ing daily check­lists for clean­ing and or­gan­is­ing ( Cud­ney, Furterer and Di­et­rich, 2013, p. 82).

Sus­tain – Safe man­u­fac­tur­ing process poli­cies. This tends to be the most dif­fi­cult step to fol­low. It fo­cuses on main­tain­ing self-dis­ci­pline and prac­tic­ing 5S un­til it be­come a way of life. Man­age­ment in­volve­ment is crit­i­cal on this stage to sus­tain the suc­cess of im­ple­ment­ing 5S ( Cud­ney, Furterer and Di­et­rich, 2013, p. 82).

For any busi­ness – es­pe­cially man­u­fac­tur­ing – to run ef­fec­tively, the work­place has to be well or­gan­ised. It saves time to process the or­ders, cus­tomers re­ceive their or­der on time and, there­fore, the im­age of the com­pany im­proves and profit in­creases.

With re­gards to this, the Five S Method­ol­ogy was ap­plied to the Pick/Pack and Dis­patch ar­eas of the Laminex New Zealand ware­house, in or­der to re­duce time wasted seek­ing ma­te­ri­als and sub­se­quent de­lays in ship­ping cus­tomer or­ders.

Laminex New Zealand is part of Fletcher Build­ing’s (F.B.) Lam­i­nates and Pan­els Divi­sion. The com­pany has fac­to­ries in New Zealand, Aus­tralia, Tai­wan, the U.S.A, Canada, China, Fin­land, Spain and Thai­land.

Be­fore the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Five S, key tools rou­tinely went miss­ing which caused de­lays in cus­tomers’ or­ders or took sig­nif­i­cantly more time to pro­ceed than they should.

First, all the tools and equip­ment were sorted: red la­bels were used to la­bel those items that were no longer needed and were a ‘waste’. Green la­bels were used for those items that were needed for fur­ther use.

Un­der straighten, places of al­lo­ca­tion for re­main­ing tools and equip­ment were iden­ti­fied. All of them were tagged and num­bered. Un­der shine the place was cleaned ex­tremely well. As for the last two steps of Five S ( stan­dard­ise and sus­tain), now it is up to man­age­ment of Laminex NZ to es­tab­lish and ap­prove the re­quired poli­cies and/or pro­ce­dures and to en­sure that all staff fol­low them con­sis­tently.

The work­place im­prove­ments at Laminex NZ were ini­ti­ated by Peter Kelly, Op­er­a­tion Man­ager of Laminex. Nikhil Sharma, an in­tern at Laminex ware­house, was as­signed the task. A stu­dent of CPIT, he ap­plied his knowl­edge about Five S Method­ol­ogy that he learned from se­nior lec­turer Imran Ishrat, who is a tu­tor of Op­er­a­tions Man­age­ment at CPIT.


• Cud­ney, E.A., Furterer, S. & Di­et­rich, D. (2013). Lean sys­tems. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

• Me­dinilla, A. (2014). Ag­ile Kaizen: man­ag­ing con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment far be­yond ret­ro­spec­tives. Ber­lin, Ger­many: Springler.

• Sarkar, D. (2006). 5S for ser­vice or­gan­i­sa­tion and of­fices: a lean look at im­prove­ments. Columbia, MO: ASQ Qual­ity Press.

The au­thor of this ar­ti­cle would like to thank Peter Kelly and Imran Ishrat for this op­por­tu­nity to ap­ply the­o­ret­i­cal knowl­edge to solve the real busi­ness prob­lem, and DEMM Mag­a­zine for giv­ing a chance for this ar­ti­cle to see the light.

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