Wednesday, 20 December 2017

5S Process in Reliability Improvement

The 5-S process is a method for ensuring workplace cleanliness, order and organization and should be at the heart of any reliability improvement initiative. It consists of five fundamental steps:

  1. Sort— Get rid of accumulated junk that has no value to the job at hand. In Maintenance, this includes removing everything that does not add value to the work being done — components from broken machinery, unrepaired spare assemblies and tools, obsolete charts and graphs and "abandoned-in-place" equipment and piping systems. If it is not needed for the job at hand, it needs to be eliminated.
  2. Straighten— Organize what remains after the first step. Consider the flow of work through the area and position equipment and storage facilities to eliminate lost motion and wasted travel. A craftsperson should not have to search for a tool or move something out of the way to begin work.
  3. Scrub/Shine— Workplace cleanliness is the next step. Precision work requires a clean work environment. Shop spaces used to rebuild equipment should approach "clean room" standards. Remove all dust, dirt and contamination. Seal concrete floors so that spills are easily cleaned. Repair lighting fixtures and paint the work area with light colors — a brightly lit work environment is much more likely to remain clean. Deteriorating equipment conditions are more easily spotted when not covered by contamination.
  4. Standardize— When the workplace is clean and organized, it must be kept that way. A system should be put into place that ensures the condition of the work area does not degrade. Visual controls can be used at the equipment level — registration marks on fasteners, color coding correct operating ranges on gauges and matched marking assemblies are examples.
  5. Sustain— A process for conducting audits on a regular basis should be considered. When management shows a concern for workplace condition, it is much more likely to remain in good shape. Every employee must understand the need for safety, order and cleanliness. The facility should be kept in "tour condition" at all times.

The cleanliness must be performed so you won’t have to work in an unsafe, disorganized area which puts you at risk or even in danger. Since 5-S is for you, you also have an obligation and the responsibility to help prepare the tools and make sure they are in the proper place so that you can begin your job on time and efficient. Clean-up and organize your work area every day so that each new day is easier and safer than the day before. Share your input with your leaders so that the tools you need will be available to you, increasing your efficiency. Volunteer to help with the 5-S tours and resolve issues that are noted.

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