The 5S strategy is an organizational approach to a business layout that helps improve organization and management standards. The main focus of the framework is to advance and maintain standards and discipline within the business. The 5S framework goes as follows:

  1. Sort
  2. Straighten
  3. Shine
  4. Standardize
  5. Sustain

The 5S framework has been seeing success in warehouses, making it beneficial for businesses to implement in their operations. Before integrating the 5S framework into your warehouse, it is important to firstly understand it. The 5 steps of a 5S framework are explored further below:

1. Sort

The first step to the 5S methodology is to sort your work space. It is important that you do not fall into the rut of organizing it by already existing categories, but by analyzing your warehouse with a fresh look. If needed, have a supply chain engineer to make suggestions on how to sort your warehouse efficiently. There are a multitude of ways to sort your warehouse, for example by type of product or by frequency of use. Once you establish the way you are going to sort your warehouse, ensure that there is a place for everything and efficiency is optimized.

2. Straighten

This step is also frequently referred to as “set” or “streamline” and involves the setup and arrangement of the warehouse operations from picking to processing. When going through this step, it is important to keep in mind that the goal is to have the shortest amount of distance between each step in your operations. This will help you save time and money.

3. Shine

This step of the framework is the most noticeable in a warehouse since it is all about cleanliness. When a warehouse isn’t clean, productivity suffers. It is important to make sure that all materials are stored out of employee’s way to free up space and to make warehouse movement safer. Additionally, a cleaner warehouse also encourages a higher standard of behaviour and increases warehouse expectations, both which can benefit your bottom line.

4. Standardize

This step is essential to a warehouse in order to establish common practices. Standardizing refers to establishing standard labels within your warehouse that contain all the information an employee would need to correctly handle a product or machine. This removes any clutter or unnecessary information, making instructions easier to follow. In addition to standardizing warehouse labels, it is also important to standardize company values and culture so that everyone is striving for the same goal. This will increase motivation and improve efficiency.

5. Sustain

The final step in the 5S framework is sustaining all the practices you implemented above. This step is focused on continuous improvement and involves a constant assessment of processes to see what is and isn’t working well. This will help you innovate your ideas and consistently improve warehouse practices to reach optimal productivity for your warehouse.

 

The 5S framework is a great organizational method to design your business model off of. It encourages accountability, visibility, and problem solving from all employees. If your warehouse needs a pick-me-up, try the 5S framework to improve processes in all areas!

 

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REFERENCES

What Is 5S | 5S Definition.” Ca.kaizen.com. N. p., 2017. Web. 9 Aug. 2017.

5S Best Practices for Lean Warehousing.” Legacy Supply Chain Services. 2017. Web. 9 Aug. 2017.