As we continue the Lean Six Sigma Yellow belt course, we’ll continue to look at the critical Improve phase and see how the tools of 5S and Visual Management can help you improve and streamline it.
Implementing 5S and Visual Management during the Improve phase can result in considerable increases in efficiency and productivity, as well as a safer and more organised workplace.
Many organisations struggle with a lack of structure in the Improve phase, which leads to inefficiencies and errors. You will be able to address these issues effectively and efficiently by using 5S and Visual Management.
In this module, we will discuss the principles and benefits of 5S and Visual Management, as well as how to incorporate them into the DMAIC Improve phase. By the end of this lesson, you will have gained the knowledge and abilities necessary to begin seeing results in your own organisation.
Table of Contents
The 5S Priciples
The 5S principles are an organisation and efficiency approach that originated in Japan and is widely utilised in manufacturing and other industries. Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain are the principles.
Sort: The first stage in 5S is to go through all of the stuff in the office and get rid of anything that isn’t necessary. This comprises goods that are no longer utilised on a regular basis, are broken, or are no longer required. This stage aids in the reduction of clutter and the creation of space for the things that are required.
Set in Order: Once the unneeded objects have been removed, the remaining items should be organised in a logical and accessible manner. This includes identifying objects and establishing designated locations for specific items.
Shine: The third stage is to clean and keep the workplace in good condition. This includes routine cleaning as well as continuing equipment and tool maintenance. A clean and well-kept workplace is more pleasant to work in and contributes to fewer accidents and blunders.
Standardize: The fourth step is to create a set of procedures and standards for how tasks are to be performed. Creating written protocols, visual aids, and training programmes to ensure that all staff understand and follow the correct procedures is part of this. This phase aids in ensuring consistency and improving work quality.
Sustain: The final phase is to retain the gains obtained in the preceding steps. This includes reviewing processes and standards on a regular basis, monitoring the workplace for any concerns that develop, and taking corrective action as appropriate. It helps to ensure that the benefits of 5S are long-term by ensuring that the improvements are sustained.
In short, 5S is a strategy that helps to create a more efficient, organised, and safe workplace by removing unneeded objects, organising things, keeping things clean, standardising procedures, and preserving the changes accomplished. Organizations can enhance their productivity, quality, and safety while also creating a pleasant work environment by using the 5S principles.
Benefits of implementing 5S in the workplace
here are many benefits of implementing 5S in the workplace, including:
Increased efficiency: By removing unneeded goods and organising those that remain in a logical and accessible manner, staff may find what they need more quickly and simply, decreasing the time spent seeking for things. This is one of the most significant advantages of using 5S in the workplace. The first stage of 5S, Sort, helps to minimise clutter and make room for what is needed.
Employees can operate in a cleaner, more organised atmosphere by going through all of the items in the workplace and getting rid of everything that isn’t essential. This eliminates the need for time-consuming and irritating item searches. The second step, Set in Order, ensures that the remaining objects are grouped logically and easily accessible. This includes identifying objects and designating storage locations for specific items. Employees are less likely to waste time hunting for products if they can discover what they need quickly and easily.
Improved quality: By standardising procedures and instructing people on how to perform jobs correctly, work quality improves and errors are decreased. Standardize, the fourth phase of 5S, is critical in ensuring that all employees understand and follow the correct procedures. Employees can perform more effectively and consistently if written processes, visual aids, and training programmes are developed, resulting in higher job quality. This can also aid in the reduction of errors, which can be expensive in terms of time, materials, and reputation.
Increased productivity: Increased productivity results from greater efficiency and quality of work, as employees are able to perform jobs more quickly and with fewer errors. Employees are able to operate in a more efficient and structured atmosphere after applying 5S, which leads to greater production. This is because they can quickly and readily identify what they need, work with fewer errors, and adhere to regular procedures.
Improved safety: A clean and well-maintained workplace is safer for employees, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries. The third 5S phase, Shine, is critical in preserving workplace cleanliness and safety. It is safer for employees to work in a clean and well-maintained environment, which reduces the likelihood of accidents and injuries. This may also result in less absenteeism due to injuries and sickness.
Cost savings: By reducing waste and increasing efficiency, organisations can save money on materials and labour costs. By eliminating unneeded materials and standardising methods, 5S helps to reduce waste. It also improves efficiency, which leads to higher output and, potentially, cost savings. This may also result in less absenteeism due to injuries and sickness.
Improved morale: A clean and well-organized workplace is more pleasant to work in, which leads to higher employee morale and engagement. Employees are more satisfied and engaged with their work when they work in a clean, organised, and efficient setting. This can lead to higher morale and motivation, which can lead to increased productivity and job quality.
Easier to identify problems: Keeping the work environment clean and orderly makes it easier to recognise and correct problems, such as faults or bottlenecks. By applying 5S, it is easier to discover and correct problems in the workplace, such as faults or bottlenecks. This is because the work environment is clean and orderly, making it easier to identify problems.
Improved communication: It is easier to communicate information to staff and visitors when visual management tools, such as labels and signs, are used, resulting in fewer errors and misunderstandings. Labels and signage, for example, are significant visual management tools in 5S. They make it simple for staff to understand and follow procedures, as well as for visitors to comprehend the operations.
Better communication: Using visual management tools like labels and signage makes it easier to transmit information to staff and visitors, resulting in fewer errors and misunderstandings. Labels and signage, for example, are significant visual management tools in 5S. They make it simple for employees to understand and follow procedures, as well as visitors to grasp workplace processes and procedures.
It is easier to express information quickly and clearly when visual signals are used, lowering the potential of errors and misunderstandings. This can also increase workplace safety by clearly showing the location of emergency equipment and exits.
Sustainability: Maintaining the gains obtained in earlier steps helps to ensure that the benefits of 5S are long-lasting. Sustain, the final stage of 5S, is critical for retaining the benefits gained by the previous steps. The benefits of 5S can be preserved over time by evaluating procedures and standards on a regular basis, monitoring the workplace for any difficulties that occur, and taking remedial action as needed. This helps to ensure that long-term gains are developed and that the benefits of 5S are realised over time.
In conclusion, applying 5S in the workplace can provide numerous benefits such as enhanced efficiency, improved quality, increased productivity, improved safety, cost savings, improved morale, quicker problem identification, improved communication, and sustainability. Organizations can enhance their operations, create a more pleasant work environment, and eventually help increase their bottom line by adhering to the 5S principles.
Example of 5S Being Applied
A manufacturing company that specialised in making car parts is one example of a company that has successfully implemented 5S. The company had been dealing with low production and a high rate of errors and faults. They were also struggling with excessive personnel turnover and low morale.
To solve these issues, the organisation chose to apply 5S in the workplace. They began by going through all of the stuff in the workspace and removing anything that was unnecessary. This helped to decrease clutter and make room for what was needed. They then put everything back in order by categorising the remaining goods in a logical and accessible manner. This includes identifying objects and designating specialised places for specific items to be stored.
The following stage was to clean and maintain the work environment. This included routine cleaning as well as continuing equipment and tool maintenance. This contributed to a more pleasant working atmosphere, which increased staff morale and engagement.
The organisation then developed a set of rules and standards for how tasks should be completed. This entailed developing written protocols, visual aids, and training programmes to ensure that all personnel were aware of and followed the proper procedures. This aided in improving job quality and reducing errors.
Finally, the company sustained the gains obtained by the preceding steps. This entailed reviewing processes and standards on a regular basis, monitoring the workplace for any difficulties that developed, and taking corrective action as appropriate.
The organisation noticed a considerable boost in production and quality as a result of implementing 5S. Employee turnover was reduced, and the rate of errors and defects was lowered. Employee morale and engagement also improved significantly, according to the organisation. The long-term benefits of 5S assisted the organisation in increasing its bottom line.
The Concept of Visual Management
Visual management is a technique for communicating information and improving efficiency and quality in the workplace by using visual cues. The following are the primary functions of visual management:
Communication: Visual management tools and techniques, like as labels, signs, and diagrams, are used to rapidly and efficiently communicate information. Procedures, job instructions, and performance measures are examples of this.
Problem identification: Visual management technologies such as Andon systems, kanban boards, and SPC charts can be used to immediately identify problems in the production process such as machine downtime, quality concerns, or bottlenecks.
Standardization: Visual management tools, such as labels and signs, are used to standardise procedures and ensure that all employees understand and follow the correct procedures. This contributes to higher work quality and fewer errors.
Performance monitoring: Visual management tools, such as performance metrics, are used to monitor and measure performance. This allows for the identification of areas for improvement as well as the tracking of progress over time.
Workplace organisation: Visual management tools like labels and signs are used to organise the workplace and make it more efficient and user-friendly. This includes identifying items, designating specialised spaces for specific goods, and employing colour coding to distinguish between distinct sections or products.
Continuous improvement: Visual management is an ongoing process that is intended to be responsive and versatile. Visual management helps to develop a culture of continuous improvement and sustain the gains over time by monitoring performance and spotting problems.
Types of Visual Management
In Lean Six Sigma there are many forms of visual management that can be used to make improvements in the workplace such as:
Project Status Boards
Visual management tools such as project status boards are used to communicate the status of projects and tasks to team members and stakeholders. Typically, a project progress board will provide the following information:
Project name and objectives: The name of the project and its overall objectives are displayed on the board.
Project tasks: A list of all the tasks that must be accomplished for the project, as well as their status (e.g. not started, in progress, completed)
Project milestones: The board also displays key project milestones such as the completion of a specific task or the delivery of a product.
Project timeline: A timeline of the project is displayed on the board, including start and conclusion dates.
Project team: The names and roles of the project team members are posted on the board.
Project risks: Any risks identified for the project, as well as their present state (e.g., mitigated, ongoing), are displayed on the board.
Project status boards make it simple for team members and stakeholders to understand the state of a project and identify any issues that need to be addressed by visually displaying this information. It also assists team members in staying focused on the duties and objectives, as well as keeping track of the project’s progress.
By offering a single area for information, project status boards can serve to increase communication and collaboration among team members and stakeholders. It also aids in the early detection of possible problems, allowing the team to take corrective action.
Kanban boards are an example of visual management boards that are used to visualise workflow and control the manufacturing process. Kanban boards are usually separated into columns, each of which represents a particular stage of the manufacturing process.
Columns could include:
Requested: Tasks or objects that need to be completed.
In Progress: Tasks or things that are being worked on right now.
Done: Tasks or items that have been completed.
Kanban boards can additionally have additional columns to represent different stages of the process or different categories of work.
Each column has cards or sticky notes that represent a certain activity or item. As the task or item goes through the manufacturing process, the cards are shifted from left to right. This aids in visualising work flow and identifying bottlenecks in the process.
Kanban boards can also incorporate information like priority level, due date, and who is in charge of each job. This information is also visually appealing and simple to comprehend, making it simple for team members and supervisors to recognise what needs to be done, who is working on it, and when it is due.
Kanban boards also aid in team communication and collaboration by offering a concentrated area for information. They also aid in the early detection of possible problems, allowing the team to take corrective action and optimise the flow of work.
Within 5S there are many techniques of Visual management that can be used to improve the workplace which includes:
Labels and signs: These are used to identify and label items and areas in the workplace. Labels can be used to indicate where goods should be placed, whilst signs can be used to communicate procedures and standards.
Color coding: This is used to identify different areas or items within the workplace. Distinct coloured labels, for example, can be used to identify different sorts of materials or goods, while different coloured signage might be used to identify different sections of the workplace.
Floor marking is a visual management tool used in the workplace to define designated areas for specific goods and activities. It entails marking the floor with tape, paint, or other materials to establish a visual indication that helps employees understand where specific products or activities should take place. Floor marking can be used for a variety of things, including:
Creating a pedestrian walkway: A walkway can be created by using bright yellow tape or paint to divide foot traffic from equipment or machinery.
Creating a safe working space: A safe working area can be created by utilising bright red tape or paint to separate employees from potentially dangerous places or equipment.
Designating storage areas: Storage sections for specific goods or materials can be developed and easily recognised by utilising different colours or patterns.
Identifying assembly or inspection areas: Assembly or inspection areas can be developed and easily identified by utilising distinct colours or patterns.
Floor marking contributes to increased workplace efficiency and safety. It helps employees understand where they should be working and what they should be working on by providing clear and easy-to-understand visual clues. Furthermore, by offering a centralised area for information, it helps to promote communication and collaboration among team members.
Visual performance metrics: Visual performance metrics are an efficient tool to manage and monitor an organization’s performance because they provide a clear and concise depiction of the data. They can be used to track numerous key performance indicators (KPIs) that are related to the organization’s goals and objectives. These visual representations can take the shape of graphs, charts, or dashboards, allowing team members to easily grasp the performance.
Employees and supervisors can easily see areas where performance is falling short of expectations and take action to improve when using visual performance metrics. They can also be used to track progress over time and make modifications as needed, which helps to foster a culture of continuous improvement. These indicators also help to improve communication.
They can also be used to track progress over time and make modifications as needed, which contributes to the development of a culture of continuous improvement. By providing a consolidated destination for information, these metrics also serve to increase communication and collaboration among team members.
Shadow boards are a type of visual management tool used in the 5S process, specifically the “Set in Order” stage. Shadow boards are used to show where tools, equipment, and other objects that are regularly utilised in a certain area should be kept.
The shadow board is made by taking a profile of the tool or equipment and painting it onto a board. After that, the board is placed in the area where the tools or equipment are utilised. The tools or equipment are then placed on the shadow board in their allotted spot.
This ensures that the tools or equipment are always in the same place and are easy to locate when needed. It also cuts down on the time spent looking for tools or equipment.
Shadow boards serve to standardise operations and guarantee that all staff understand and follow the correct procedures by designating designated areas for tools and equipment. They also help to improve the general appearance of the workplace by organising and tidying the tools and equipment.
The Andon system is designed to discover problems fast and to save downtime by allowing management and maintenance teams to respond swiftly. The visual display of the Andon signal aids in the clear and succinct communication of the problem to team members and stakeholders.
Andon can also be used to monitor performance and find areas for improvement. Andon data can be used to track how frequently the signal is activated, what is causing the problem, and how long it takes to address the problem. This information can then be utilised to identify areas for improvement and make process adjustments.
Visual Management guidelines
When implementing visual management, organisations should follow certain guidelines:
Keep it simple: For all employees and stakeholders, visual management should be clear and easy to grasp. Avoid employing confusing or difficult-to-understand images or words. Instead, use plain and succinct language, as well as simple and straightforward visual aids that can be comprehended by anyone.
Make it relevant: Visual management should be related to the aims and objectives of the organisation. It should provide meaningful and actionable information, as well as assist employees and stakeholders in understanding how their work contributes to the organization’s performance. It might help to align employees’ activities with the organization’s goals and objectives by delivering pertinent information.
Make it accessible: All employees and stakeholders should have access to visual management. It should be placed in a prominent location where it is easily seen and understood. It should be displayed in a location that is visible to all employees and stakeholders, as well as simply accessible and understandable.
Keep it up to date: Visual management should always be kept up to date. This involves ensuring that the displayed information is correct and that any changes to the process or procedures are reflected in the visual management system. It guarantees that employees and stakeholders have access to accurate and current information by keeping the visual management system up to date.
Make it consistent: Visual management should be uniform across the board. This involves ensuring that the same visual management tools and procedures are used throughout the business, which contributes to the development of a uniform approach to visual management. By using an uniform language and format, this also helps to increase communication and collaboration among team members.
Make it a team effort: Visual management should be a collaborative endeavour including all employees and stakeholders. Everyone should be instructed on how to utilise and contribute to the visual management system. Making it a team effort helps to guarantee that the visual management system is matched to the organization’s specific needs.
Make it flexible: Visual management should be adaptable to changing situations and requirements. This includes the ability to add or delete visual management tools and approaches as needed in order to keep the visual management system effective. It helps to guarantee that the visual management system remains relevant and effective over time by making it flexible.
Use it to drive improvement: Visual management should be used to drive improvement. It should be used to detect problems and possibilities for improvement, and the data it offers should be used to make process adjustments in order to improve the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness. By employing visual management to drive change, you may help to foster a culture of continuous development.
To summarise, 5S is a great instrument for increasing workplace efficiency, quality, and safety. Organizations can create a cleaner, more organised, and safer environment for their employees by following the concepts of Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. Increased efficiency, greater quality, increased productivity, enhanced safety, cost savings, better morale, simpler problem detection, better communication, and sustainability are all advantages of 5S. Organizations can realise major gains in their operations and bottom line by using 5S in the workplace.
Additionally, integrating visual management tools such as floor marking, shadow boards, and performance indicators can improve the effectiveness of the 5S programme. It is critical to remember that 5S and visual management are ongoing processes that should be regularly examined and enhanced to ensure that the benefits are retained over time.
After learning about 5S and Visual Management improvement methods lets continue with the next improvement methods of Kanban and Hijunka