The companies that grow and expand are those that have managed to maintain efficiency within their processes. Many of the executives wonder how to improve efficiency, quality, safety and the organization of the operation without neglecting the investment.

Through improved efficiency, organisations can maintain or increase the results of business processes at a lower cost.

The 5 «S» method of increasing productivity is part of the well-known Toyota method which originated in Japan during the 1950s and 1960s, at the time Japanese expansion after World War II. The Toyota method was later adapted in the West under the English term, Lean Manufacturing or Just In Time tactic (JIT).

With the 5 S’ model, management technique based on five simple principles, improve the efficiency of the organisation. The 5 S’ are:

ORGANISATION (SEIRI):

It consists of separating elements that are not necessary from those that are in the daily list. Items that are needed should always remain within reach while unnecessary items can be eliminated, donated or transferred.

ORDER (SEITON):

It allows all the elements of work to be completed to the quantity and quality necessary at the most suitable place and time, so that necessary elements can be used and then return to their origin site without any inconvenience.

CLEARING (SEISO):

Clearing should be encouraged at work while keeping everything in order.

STANDARDISATION (SEIKETSU):

In order to continue with this phase the three previous phases must be very well applied within the organisation, because this «S» consists of keeping the habits of order and clearing in such a way that if something goes out of control, it can be detected and prevented immediately.

DISCIPLINE (SHITSUKE):

The last «S» is perhaps the most difficult to achieve, as it requires the respect and proper use of all other procedures, standards and controls developed. It establishes a rigorous control of the whole system and according to the objectives, a restructuring is made within the processes.

If the execution of the previous steps is carried out in a suitable way, both managers and collaborators will be able to have a focus towards the results, making strategic decisions with a macro vision of the business environment. The application of the Toyota model may not be the magic recipe, however, we do believe that it is a good reference to eliminating waste in organisations. All the agents of the company are responsible for this challenge: «… a committed leadership, adequate training and a culture that makes sustained improvement the usual behaviour from workshop to management» (Liker, 2004, p. 74). Always remember that good advice is indispensable for everything to work, so let to the experts make it!

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