Monday, July 1, 2013

5 S

I find that some of the tools I learned at work followed me into retirement.

"5 S" is an example.

5 S is an acronym/mnemonic  that describes a process for bringing order to chaos.  As any student of the Three Laws of Thermodynamics will tell you, Chaos (or Entropy) will increase in a closed system.  So a process for reducing chaos is pretty cool.

5 S originally stood for
  • seiri
  • seiton
  • seiso
  • seiketsu
  • shitsuke
 Still confused?

A common translation into English is
  • Sort:  Get rid of or recycle the junk and the overly redundant.  You need to clear up some floor or shelf space so this is the first step.
  • Set in order:  Put like-with-like or kit items by usage.  An example: Eatonrapidsjoe is collecting all of his fishing gear in one place.  Once in place another Sort will be done as a more refined inventory can take place.
  • Shine:  Dirt spawns more dirt.  Dirt causes wear.  Dirt makes it hard to find things.  The handling of items when you clean them sometimes reveal that they are no longer re-Sort and re-Set.
  • Standardize:  Example:  Look at the cabinet where you store breakfast food cereal.  We have many different kinds.  Many of those boxes are 3/4 full and have been on the shelf for months.  The likelihood of them being consumed by humans are nil.  Meanwhile, we sometimes run out of the cereal that we do eat.  So what happened?  A whim, a guest, a recipe that needed puffed rice...the reasons are endless.  Standardize means pitch the low runners and you can increase the number-on-hand of the cereal you do eat.  Re-sort, Re-set, Re-shine.
  • Sustain or Schedule:  Things that are important are scheduled.  So plan a time to re-visit the pantry, the cereal cabinet, the fishing locker.  Steal (No, Steal is not one of the 5-S!)  a page from helicopter maintenance;  schedule two light maintenance a one heavy maintenance.  If you group your 5-S focus areas into groups of three (Pantry, Cereal cabinet, Fishing locker), then the heavy maintenance will rotate and the time block will sort of level.
I would post pictures but I am embarrassed by how far things slid while I was working.  You will just have to use your imagination.


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