What is 5S?

5S is a lean tool used for organizing the workplace. 5S represents 5 Japanese words all starting with ‘S,’ Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Set in Order), Seiso (Shine), Seiketsu (Standardize), and Shitsuke (Sustain). It was invented in Japan to enable Just in time production. Unlike general norms, 5S has application in manufacturing as well as service industries

  1. Seiri mean Sort i.e. segregating what is needed and not needed. This is the most challenging and important step of implementing 5S as the human tendency is to preserve everything. For example, Computer Desktop has so many files that may or may not be always required, which makes it difficult to find the desired file. Similar is the case with team shared drives.
  2. Seiton means Set in order i.e. defining a place for everything and keep it in its designated location. For example in shared drives, the nomenclature for folders should be such that anyone can understand where to save a particular file.
  3. Seiso means Shine i.e. keeping everything clean. Cleaning frequency should be defined to ensure everything is cleaned regularly. For example, shared drive should clean on a regular interval to ensure non-relevant files are archived.
  4. Seiketsu mean Standardize i.e. the instruction to maintain and monitor first three steps should be clearly defined. 5S is not a one-time job; it is a regular activity. Hence once the required frequency to repeat first three steps is agreed it should be standardized. Also, it helps in sharing best practices rather than re-inventing the wheel.
  5. Shitsuke mean Sustain. It is all about building self-discipline. All these steps should be done without being told to do. The process should be set to regularly audit and monitor for all the departments

Value Stream Map

Value stream mapping is a lean enterprise technique used to analyze and improve the flow of information/material through series of value-adding events taking product/services from supplier to the customer

Value stream map (VSM) gives a visual depiction of the end to end process flow. Unlike standard process flow, VSM will not only have all process step in sequential order of production but also will show material and information flow and multiple data points like cycle time, waiting time, defect rate at each stage, inventory at each stage will also be depicted. It will be the one-page Bible for the leaders to identify improvement areas, recommend solutions and analyze the impact of a solution on other departments as well.

The primary objective of Value stream map is to identify waste and improve material/information flow. There is no standard way of how to use value stream map but at large most of the companies follow below mentioned general steps for creating value stream map:

  1. Define Scope
  2. As-is Value Stream Mapping
  3. Identify Value added and Non-Value Added activity
  4. Identify opportunities for Improvement
  5. To-be Value Stream Mapping

Here is the Value Stream Map cheat sheet for quick reference, it’s a one-page guide for preparing Value stream map. [Order my book “VALUE STREAM MAP – A Lean Tool For Process Improvement (All You Need To Know About)” on Amazon Kindle Store, available for Free till 9th March’2017, to learn VSM in detail)

Step 1: Define Scope

The scope of VSM can be defined using two methods:

1. Fluctuation in Key performance indicator

2. Product Family Matrix:  Products following similar process steps forms one Product Family. Prioritize family basis critical to customer or critical to business

Step 2: As-is Value Steam Mapping

1. Build the map skeleton by drawing customer, supplier, process steps, and production control.

2. Add continuous material/information flow

3. Update current performance

Step 3: Identify Value Added and Non-Value Added Activities

Value: Anything for which customer is willing to pay

NVA: Process step which is not adding value. The objective is to minimize essential non-value added time as much as possible.

Eight types of wastes can be identified in process: Transport(movement of material/product), Inventory, Motion (movement of people), Waiting (people/material waiting in queue), Overproduction (producing more than or before required), Over-processing (processing more than required), Defect (products not matching customer expectations)

Step 4: Identify improvement opportunities

Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement. The improvement opportunities are depicted in VSM as Kaizen-burst. Examples of improvement opportunities are Non-Value Added activities / Waste, high change over time/ cycle time, multiple/unnecessary communication, duplicate activities etc

Step 5: To be Value Stream Mapping

Multiple Lean tools can be used to recommend improvement opportunities:

1.    5S =  Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain

2.    Standard work = Documenting most efficient way for doing work

3.    Jidoka = Automation that will stop as soon as error occur

4.    Visual Andon = Visual signal that shows the status of a process.

5.    Poka Yoke = Mistake proofing to prevent or detect errors

6.    Kanban = Signal cards used to denote product details

To-be Value stream mapping should be drawn assuming all recommendations are implemented. An implementation plan should be finalizes