Home » Journals Blog » A Place for Everything… (The power of 5S.)

At the risk of oversimplifying or stereotyping, I think we can generally agree that like people, there are two types of production facilities: those that try to operate through a level of clutter, and those that require neatness and order.

Sheridan print production facilities fall (neatly) into the latter. In fact, both the magazine and journal production teams at The Sheridan Press (TSP) in Hanover, PA and Dartmouth Printing Company (DPC) in Hanover, NH, have embraced the 5S principle of Lean Manufacturing. 5S, a component of the 1980’s Just-In-Time manufacturing process, focuses on waste in all its forms – striving to eliminate it, naturally, in order to enhance productivity.

5S originates from practices developed for the Japanese automotive industry. Five consecutive tasks in the process all started with the letter “S”: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke. Transliterated to English, they became: Sorting, Set in Order of Use, Systematic Cleaning (Shine), Standardizing, and Sustaining.

In a nutshell, here’s what each means:
Sorting: Eliminate the unnecessary – keep only the essential items, components, tasks.
Set in Order of Use: Arrange the tools, equipment, instructions, process, even the people in the most efficient order. Create an orderly flow.
Systematic Cleaning (Shine): Keep things clean, tidy and organized on a routine basis.
Standardizing: Develop and document uniform processes, procedures in order to duplicate the process with predictable and often timed results.
Sustaining: Adhere to the established rules to prevent backsliding.

At DPC, the pledge to create a 5S production environment started back in 2011. As per the practice, production areas are assessed individually, and processes or equipment to be improved upon within those areas are identified as “events”. To date, Dartmouth has successfully completed seven 5S events within the Finishing and Press areas. Workbenches have been given the 5S treatment; stitchers and binders got the streamlining facelift; even the folder, tip-on, and bellybander area underwent the efficiency transformation.

What benefits has Dartmouth seen from their recent efforts?

  • Set up times have been reduced simply by ensuring that all necessary tools and equipment are always nearby and ready to use.
  • Safety hazards have been eliminated.
  • The Audit checklist has seen a 75% improvement.

The Sheridan Press facility initiated the 5S approach in 2008. Since then, roughly 15 events have been successfully completed; including all press units, folders, perfect binders, the saddle stitcher, and the Mailing and Shipping departments. And, TSP is in the process of applying 5S practices to the Maintenance department.

TSP immediately realized these benefits upon 5S implementation:

  • Less changeover time
  • More organized, cleaner workspaces
  • Greater employee harmony

As you might imagine, there is a core team of individuals at each plant who are responsible for this good work in addition to their regular duties. And, they’re busy addressing other 5S worthy areas.

5S – Not just for manufacturing!

It would be a mistake to relegate and restrict the 5S principle to manufacturing areas. To be sure, for efficiency and safety reasons alone it’s the logical first step, but 5S isn’t just a production practice. It’s a mindset and a discipline that anyone – anyone – can apply, to exponentially beneficial results. Home, office… whatever space you inhabit, consider “5S-ing” it.

5S your space! Need some inspiration? You’ll love this fascinating little 4:38 minute time-lapse video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPkMK2q78qc. Enjoy!