One of the bricks that make up the foundation of the MacLean-Fogg House is 5S. This is the practice of improving Safety, Quality, and Productivity through constant workplace organization and standardization. The term “5S” comes from 5 Japanese practices, which transliterated from Japanese characters to English, all start with the letter “S.” They are: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke. In English, that translates to:  Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain.

Sort is the first step of 5S – It means taking out the materials you don’t need and keeping only what is required to do the job. Often, over time, and especially in manufacturing environments, materials, tools, etc… are accumulated until the area becomes cluttered and the right parts become hard to find. “Sort” is the process of weeding out unnecessary items from the work area.

Set in Order is the second step of 5S – It is the 5S translation of, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Find the proper location for the materials you need for the job, and mark that spot. This is where attention is paid to “point of use,” or making sure that parts, tools, etc… are within easy reach of the operator.

Shine is the third step of the process – It focuses on appearance. How do we want the equipment and workspace to look, feel, and even sound? Cleaning equipment and table tops, removing dust and debris from the area, fixing oil and air leaks, and applying fresh coats of paint make the workspace look like a showroom.

Standardize is what is done when 5S is complete – Here, we write standard work instructions to ensure that the work area will be properly maintained, including what 5S steps will be taken and at what interval to ensure the area stays organized and clean. We’ve just spent a good bit of time and effort to make the area look good. Now, we want to keep it that way.

Sustain is the ongoing mission of 5S – We use audits of standard work and the workspace to ensure that the new 5S standard is kept up and maintained.

At the York facility, we are rolling out 5S one area at a time. We started with the distribution class arrester value stream. The team spent 3-1/2 days working in three specific areas.

In all, the team completed 5S in three specific work areas, 24 different pieces of equipment and over 7,000 square feet. 5S Standard work has been completed for most processes. There are a number of newspaper items yet to be completed, but the team is committed to resolving these final issues as quickly as possible. The key going forward will be to sustain this effort and help York continue their construction of the MF House.

After a 5S event at the York facility