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TPM Chapter 3 - 5S

In my previous blog I talked about the history of TPM and its essence in brief. In this blog I would be talking about 5S and its importance being the foundational step of TPM.

5S also known as Housekeeping or workplace organization is the pre-requisite for implementing TPM in any organization. There are numerous articles and books written on the concept of 5S and rightly so because 5S is such a powerful yet simple thing that lays the foundation for carrying out TPM related activities. In this blog I won’t just explain you what 5S is but rather how it can be used as a powerful management tool to drive a cultural change.

The first S stands for Sort which says you identify all the unwanted items in your work place and remove them. It’s also called red-tagging activity because you attach a red-tag to those unwanted items and then take decisions on them. Similarly when you are in a management position there will be multiple things that will come to you but you need to identify the unwanted tasks, red-tag them and put it aside or delegate it to someone else. One cannot do everything and it is extremely important to organize yourself and your tasks to manage effectively. Delegation of tasks is an effective way of management which is explained by this simple concept of Sorting.

The Second S stands for Set in Order which says that every item has a defined place and they need to be put at that designated place only. As a manager also once you have delegated your unimportant tasks you s need to prioritize the important ones. It should be clear to you what task needs to be performed when without having any kind of surprises. The management lesson taught by second S is about prioritizing your tasks so that it is easy for you to execute.

The third S stands for Shine which says that you keep your work place neat and clean so that any dirty thing is clearly identifiable. As a manager you need to dressed appropriately that makes an impression and also you need to be clean from inside (follow non-corrupt practices).

The fourth S stands for Standardize which says you need make some rules related to first three S and ensure that they are followed judiciously. The management lesson in the 4th S is that you establish rules for yourself on how to identify the unwanted tasks, delegate them and prioritize your important tasks and make sure you follow them.

The fifth S stands for Sustenance which is the most important part because once you follow all the 4 S you don’t want to end there. This 5S activity or philosophy needs to be followed every day till it becomes a habit and is part of the company’s culture. As a manager you need to sustain and improve your 4S so as to organize yourself and become an effective manager.

Although 5S was first started as a shop-floor activity it is much more than that and is a management philosophy in itself. Having mere knowledge of 5S and implementing it will certainly do good to your company but the real benefit will be seen when it is embraced as a culture by every employee of the organization.

TPM & Business Development Manager
SKAPS Industries


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