5S Event

Guide to Implementing the First S in 5S Sort

How to run a Lean 5S Visual Management Event. This blog will start with the first “S”, Sort (out of the 5 S’s). The following blog will be the first in a five part series. This blog is based on 5S event at one of our client partners.

The Lean 5S event is one of the most powerful in the Lean arsenal!

This event is used to change perception by changing the way an environment looks and feels. I often say it is a great Marketing tool, because it literally transforms an area into a more organized, friendly area.

5S is often called the “Gateway to Improvement” because it is very difficult to Improve a surrounding that is unorganized and chaotic.

Picture yourself walking in to a super market to get 10 items. It is the only super market in a 50 mile radius so you are confined to use this store.

You walk in to get your 10 items and there is no rhyme or reason to why any item is in an aisle. Everything is placed randomly. There is no signage telling you what is down any aisle.

To find these 10 items, you will probably have to walk down all the aisles multiple times. This would be very frustrating!

It amazes me how many organizations fit this very scenario.

Now picture the same super market but in a different environment. You walk in and it looks much like the super markets that you are used to.

The items are sorted in each aisle logically by family or type.

There are signs telling you what is down each aisle to keep you from travelling into an aisle that does not add value to your shopping experience. Each item is labeled.

This is a much less frustrating scenario.

In this scenario I do not have to commit the waste of “searching” to the degree that I would have in the previous scenario. These are some of the benefits of a 5S event.5S Event

The Mantra of the first “S”, Sort is “Get rid of what does not belong”

If you’ve ever seen the comedian George Carlin’s comedy rant called “stuff” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac], you’ll understand most individuals (as well as organizations) obsession with collecting things. This seems to be more prevalent in the U.S. because of not being constrained by space.

“Sort” uses the “30 Day Rule” as a general rule.

This rule states: If you haven’t used it in 30 days, get rid of it.

This is a general rule that does not apply literally. High dollar items and items used for insurance purposes are usually exempt.

This is where you are going to get the push-back of JIC (Just in Case). We tend to have a hard time letting go of even trivial things. Because we have an obsession with “stuff”, we can occupy a lot of space quickly.

In Lean terms, “getting rid of it” means to disposition, unless it is truly trash (in which case we throw it away). We call this “Red Tagging” because we red tag everything is dispositioned. We disposition item to a “disposition area”.

Each item is red tagged with a value to be written off as well as a final disposal date.

Dispositioned items are then advertised to the organization and given away; relocated to other sites that have use for the item; or sold.

If the item has not been removed from the disposition area within the “disposal date” on the tag (usually within 30 days), it is sold to employees, removed to a second hand store (like the Salvation Army) or disposed.

5S Event

One of the greatest benefits of the first “S”, Sort is that it should gain you between 35%-75% of space on your first 5S event.

I have been called into many organizations that were in the planning phases of expanding with new multi-million dollar structures. After a five day 5S Event, they stopped the expansion project because they had found enough space existing in their present facility.

Where could you or your organization use the first “S” to regain much needed space? Does your organization have the “hoarding mentality”?