Spring into 5S!

Spring has sprung and the sun feels warm and the days are getting longer. Time to open the windows and let in all that sunshine and fresh air. I have the urge to spring clean and I'm ready to hoe out all the things I forgot I had and organize! I have a rule that if I haven't used it or worn it in a year, then it must find a new home. As I dig through my closets I am reminded of the lean 5S methodology that has been proven to be an effective way to identify and eliminate waste while organizing and standardizing the workplace. The list below describes the steps to organize a work space so that it functions with efficiency in mind and is effective at eliminating unnecessary motion, maintaining a clean and tidy area, making inventory easy to manage, and sustaining the new order.

You'll notice this 5S list is now 6S because the Transformation Team at Infinitum has added "safety:"

  • Sort -

    Goal: Reduce the number of items and reduce the amount of needed storage. If more people wear medium gloves than small then the amount of each size of glove should represent the office population. Everything has a "home." You do not waste time looking for items as you know exactly where items are stored so they are easily available and inventoried.

    Implementation: Evaluate whether or not an item should be stored in this space. Evaluate the number of each item. Remove unnecessary items, and "red tag" all the items you are not sure about and place in a "red tag" area until you know.

  • Set in order -

    Goal: Reduce inconvenience. Reduce unnecessary movement and over reaching.

    Implementation: Put the items that are used most in the most convenient or optimal place. Items should be in a logical order as to use or size. Make it easy to find items by using visual labels (color code, number, alphabetical order) Put tape on the floor to show where equipment "lives."

  • Shine -

    Goal: Keep area clean so it is pleasant to work in. Keep area picked up so it is safe. Keep equipment well maintained to prevent time loss during an equipment breakdown.

    Implementation: Sweep and dust regularly. Inspect area and equipment within the area regularly.

  • Standardize -

    Goal: Standardize the sort, set in order, and shine processes. Procedures and schedules are within the standardized 5S policy.

    Implementation: Make sure it is part of everyone's daily routine. Provide visual reminders such as photos and diagrams. Ensure that everyone knows their responsibility. Create an audit checklist.

  • Sustain -

    Goal: Sustain the developed and sometimes co-created processes. Staff will follow the processes without being told.

    Implementation: Organize training sessions. Audit the entire procedure regularly as things change. What made sense a year ago may not be true anymore. Staff feedback is valuable for ongoing improvements. When issues arrive, address them by identifying the cause to avoid them happening again.

  • Safety -

    Goal: Increase safety.

    Implementation: Eliminate hazards that can cause trips, slips, and falls on the floor. Eliminate falling object hazards. Eliminate injury by putting heavy and often reached for items closer to the person.


Feeling ready to do some spring cleaning in your work spaces? Contact the Infinitum Transformation Team and we'll be happy to help!