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Improving Production with Lean Thinking by Javier Santos, Richard A. Wysk, Jose M. Torres

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8

Environmental Improvements and the 5S Methodology

The third area that will be analyzed in this book is the work environment and how it can be improved. In the last decade, the number of implementation projects based on a methodology known as the 5S methodology has increased significantly. The name of this methodology corresponds to the initial letters of five Japanese words (also five English words) that are based on sort, organize, and clean.

However, the main objective of the 5S tool is to educate workers and encourage an attitude that supports worker habits. These habits will allow workers to maintain the work environment in an orderly (sorted, organized, and clean) manner with little effort. The ideas used in this methodology are simple, and most of them are based on common sense. However, in most companies, these procedures of organization and cleaning are not adhered to as well as they should be.

A CLEAN AND ORGANIZED WORKSPACE

Before getting started on production improvements, it is necessary to have a clean and organized workspace. Hiroyuki Hirano developed a methodology that leads to “working with essential elements,” as well as to an organized and clean workspace (Fig. 8.1).

The 5S methodology has brought a new awareness of, as well as a respect for, organization and cleaning into the company environment. This attitude is not based on posters or stereotyped slogans hung on factory walls. The 5S methodology is based on inculcating, through 5S tools, good habits that ...

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