Volume 1 / Issue 11/ August 15, 2016
Workplace Organization (5S) is still under appreciated
The genesis of 5-S is...
North American not Asian
It began in Michigan with Henry Ford not in Toyota City. It began with the need to reduce defects and problems when assembling interchangeable parts into automobiles. Two of Henry Ford’s mantras were: “We cannot afford to have dirt around— it is too expensive.” and “Your wastebasket is your friend.” Making it all work for Henry required understanding the environment of his time and the culture that existed.
Part of the culture of the time included the unquestioned discipline that stemmed from “the need to keep your rifle just so.” In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s rifles could be just as finicky as the powder used to fire them. Ford put this militia thinking to work as he implemented Standard Work around how you kept your place of work because dirt and early interchangeable parts did not mix and if you did not take care of your rifle it would not take care of you.
In the mid 20’s (long, long before the Toyota Production System) Ford was instilling his CANDO discipline which included visual tools. In 1931 there was no ‘5-S’ but there was a ‘3-S’ and that stood for Smoke, Soot, and Smudge. Over time, CANDO became neglected and lost in Ford. In fact, 5-S as we know it did not come along until the 50’s.
So just what was CANDO in Ford’s world?
To Henry Ford, CANDO was “Workplace Organization.” In the 1970’s, the Japanese grabbed hold of the concept and divided it into five words so it would be easier for their employees to remember. North Americans, knowing nothing about CANDO, spotted 5-S in Japan in 1983 and brought it back to North America in the early 1980’s. At the time, your editor was the Manager of Programs and Services for OCAM as we agonized over how to select five English words that would equate to the actions associated with those our applications engineers had seen in Japan.
Here are the 5 practices that are actually attributable to Henry Ford in Michigan.
C = Clearing-up...
The objective is to have nothing in the workplace that is not needed. In fact, the workplace should be kept as naked as possible so it is easier to see where and how improvements can be made. Appropriate rules of thumb are, ‘When in doubt throw it out.’ It includes Red Tagging anything that should not be there – the signal to clear away what is not needed. Henry often reminded people that “Your best friend includes your waste basket.”
A = Arranging...
The objective of this practice is to have ‘A place for everything and everything in its place.’ With discipline, this eliminates the waste associated with looking for tools during normal hours or during the fury associated with unscheduled shutdowns.
N = Neatness...
This has far more value than providing ‘eye candy’. Besides the influence cleanliness has on people’s pride and professionalism, keeping everything clean speeds finding things that are out of place or leaking. One company’s approach was to ‘paint all machines white.’ Besides pouring more light into every nook and cranny, leaks and elevated temperature problems quickly became visible.
D = Discipline…
“Mind you keep your rifle an’ yourself jus’ so.” Make Preventative Maintenance and cleaning routines, activities, and habits part of the work instructions and thinking.
O = Ongoing Improvement…
‘Root out additional forms of waste and inefficiency. Strive for Continuous Improvement and the deployment of best practices across the organization that are continuously improving – and translate it into Standard Work.’
So many names for the same thing
What’s critical is the selection of a core taxonomy that is understood and consistently used by all in the plant!