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Seiri of the 5 S Methodology

By Edited May 7, 2016 1 0

Seiri, which means organization or sort, is used to put things together or to organize them by using specific rules. And one of the best things about seiri is that once you know and understand the rules that are being used to sort and organize everything you will be able to find the things that you want or need without having to search for them, meaning they will be right there at your fingertips. But another way to look at seiri is that it is about identifying the necessary things and the unnecessary things and then putting the necessary things into order and getting rid of the unnecessary things immediately.

The actual act of sorting things into groups in both the workplace and at home is called stratification management. And all that you need to do in order to accomplish this is to take the actual items themselves and group them into piles. They will be sorted into piles by using some feature that they have in common. For example if you have paints you would sort them by type of paint and the color of the paint.

But seiri is not just about sorting items into groups so that you can easily find things when you are looking for them. Seiri is also about cleaning things up, which can include throwing things away that you no longer need. Or instead of throwing things away you might prefer to just move them into a different area so that you can easily find them if you ever need that item again. And the best part about this is that when you get rid of or put away the things that you are not going to be using in the future you are going to be making room for the things that you are going to be using so that they are easier to find and are for the most part visible.

The main objective of seiri is to clean up the work area. But in addition to organizing your work area doing this also has other benefits besides making the work area look nice. But by cleaning it up and organizing it you will be able to spot things that need to be fixed easier, but you will also be improving safety. The reason that the safety will be improved is because the work area will no longer be cluttered which will increase your work space. And the increased work space will help reduce the number of accidents that you might have. But another benefit to seiri is that it also eliminates clutter and confusion because it is getting rid of tools, equipment, supplies or just plain waste that interferes with getting the job done.

Also when it comes to sorting out the objects that we need and don't need we do this so that we can hopefully avoid any future problems. If we fail to get rid of the clutter or organize our tools that we need to accomplish our work we can face numerous problems. Here is a look at some of the problems that we might face: Operators unable to find the item that they need, which can end up wasting time. Basically the time that is spent searching for the item ends up being a compete waste and if we could easily find the items that we need we would end up saving time. And in most businesses time is money so the less time you spend looking for things the more money you are saving the company. Safety issues when people fall over things Quality issues when certain things are not being done that need to be done because the tools have not been inspected to ensure that they are working properly. If they tools are not working properly there is no guarantee that things are being put together correctly. Stuff that is cluttering up the workplace can make it hard to move around or to even see each other which can make it even harder to communicate

One of the best things about this first step in the % S program is that seiri is not very complicated. In fact when it comes to this phase of the program there are only two major elements to it because of how simple this task is. But just because the task is simple that doesn't mean it is any less important. Here is a look at the two main elements of seiri.

Number one:

Simply taking a very critical look around the work area to see what can be done. This is going to involve cross functional teams because you cannot look at your own workspace to ensure that it is clutter free and all of the useless stuff has been removed. This will be where the teams are supposed to look at other people's areas to ensure that everything that is not needed is removed and the stuff that is needed is organized and easy to access.

Number two:

This would be referred to as red tagging and for the most part it is similar to getting rid of stuff that you are not going to be using, but it is done in a different way to ensure that you do get rid of everything that is not used. What you do in this process is you mark all of your items with a type of tag. On the tag you are going to write down what the item is, where it is located and when you found it in this location. After doing this you will need to leave the area alone expect for the people who use this area for work and then they will need to mark down on the tag when they used that item that was tagged. You allow this to go on for a period of time, one month is a good time frame, and then you go back into the area and look at all of the tagged items to see what hasn't been used or perhaps even moved.

So once you have identified all of the items that haven't been used in that one month period you can actually start to get rid of those items, but some people find that putting them in a separate area before you sell them or throw them away is a better choice just to ensure that you really won't need them. Then you need to look at the items that were being used but not as often as other items. With these items that are used infrequently you are going to want to move them to a different location because having to walk and get them is not going to be that big of a deal because of how little they are used. Not to mention that by moving these infrequently used items you can free up space in the work area that allows you to be more productive and helps you with any quality issues.

Seiri is only the first part of the entire 5 S program and although it is one of the most basic it is still very important that you complete this phase. The reason that you need to do this first is that seiri actually sets the table for the rest of the phases, meaning that if you do not start with seiri then doing the other phases is pointless because the basic building blocks have not been set.

Once you have managed to implement the entire 5 S program into your workplace you will end up having some kind of audit on each aspect of the 5 S programs. The reason that you need to perform an audit on each phase of the 5 S program is to ensure that everything is working out like it is supposed to and that you are making progress. If after the audit you find that your company is not making any kind of progress or that things can still be improved you will need to revisit the first phase to see what else you can do.

Here are some questions that might come up in an audit of the seiri part of the 5 S programs:

  • Are there any useless things that can bother your work environment?
  • Are there any useless raw materials, semi-finished products and/or waste left as is, near the workplace?
  • Are there any tools, spare parts, materials left on the floor, near any equipment?
  • Are all frequently used objects sorted, arranged, stored and labeled? Are all measurement instruments/devices sorted, arranged, stored and labeled?
  • Does the inventory or in-process inventory include any unneeded materials or parts?
  • Are there any unused machines or other equipment around?
  • Are there any unused jigs, tools, dies or similar items around?
  • Is it obvious which items have been marked as unnecessary?
  • Has establishing the 5 S's left behind any useless standards?

n order to properly follow through with seiton you are going to need to make sure that you have first successfully completed seiri. The reason for this is that seiri actually leads into seiton, so you cannot do one without having done the other first. Whereas seiri involves getting rid of the things that you do not need or want seiton is concerned with leaving things tidy and available where and when you need items.

Basically seiton means neatly putting things away after you have used them. And in seiton in order to put things away neatly after you have used them you are going to need to follow three basic rules. The three basic rules that you are going to need to follow are: Decide where things belong Decide how things should be put away follow the putting away rules so that you can leave things where they belong. And by leaving things where they belong they can be found quickly and properly the next time somebody needs them

The objective for this phase of the 5 S program is that everything has a place and that everything should be put into its place. This is actually accomplished through properly identifying and labeling items in the workplace.

Similar to seiri there are two main parts to seiton. The first part is putting everything in its proper place. And the second part is to set up some kind of system that makes it easy for anybody to return each item to its proper place, not just the people who regularly use that item. The second part of is where good labeling practices and identification practices are very important. The reason for this is that everything that you use and their proper storage locations need to be clearly identified and labeled so that people can make sure that they return the item to its proper place so it can easily be found the next time somebody needs to use it.

Here are some things that you need to keep in mind when it comes to seiton.

  • When setting up the put away rules you are going to want to do an analysis of how the items are used. You are going to want to pay close attention to when and how they are picked up and used because this is the primary driver of how and where they are put away.
  • If confusion exists about an item or there is the potential for confusion to exit then you are going to want to identify the object in some special way. The reason for this is if you uniquely mark an item that can be confused with other items then when you go to look for that item it will be easy to find, which saves you time from looking but also helps to prevent mistakes from being made from grabbing the wrong item.
  • Labeling and naming should be standardized, meaning make sure that you call all of the same tools or materials the same thing each time you refer to them and then label them with that same name.
  • When labeling an item make sure that you use something for naming that cannot get lost, such as paint instead of paper labels. Also write labels clearly so that they can be read at an appropriate distance.
  • If you are going to be changing the labels on a regular basis you are going to want to ensure that you are using the correct fixing system. If the sign is going to be permanent you can use something like screws or nails to hold it in place. But if you are going to be changing it monthly or even weekly you want to use something like a clip or a slotted holder.
  • Make sure that the item and the storage location match. Some ways that you can do this are to write the same name on both the item and the storage location. You can paint the outline of the tool on the tool storage board, which also allows you to see when a tool is missing. You can cut the outline of an item out of foam if it is breakable. Or anything else that you can think of.
  • Marks and signs on walls and floors can be used to indicate walkways, storage areas, special usage, etc. Or you can paint areas of the floor or even complete areas of the floor different colors to symbolize what each section is for, such as rest areas, hazardous areas, etc
  • Neaten up wires and cables so that they are not laying on floors or on walls, the best place to put wires and cables is in overhead channeling. The reason for this is that they can get tangled and hard to find in buried ducts, but if they are loose or stapled to the floors they can get damaged or tripped on, not to mention that it looks tacky.
  • Make sure that you also cover cleaning when you are developing the put away rules. You want to make sure that the things you are putting away are clean and free from any hazardous materials, but you also want to make sure that you are not putting back any damaged tools. And when you clean the tools you can tell whether they are damaged or not.
  • Make sure that you are balancing the storage space with things that need to get stored. The reason that this is so important is that if you have unused storage space you are actually wasting space. But yet at the same time cramming things together to make sure everything fits won't work either. The reason for that is because it can make it hard to find what you are looking for or make it hard to reach the item that you need. But not only that it could cause damage to the items that you are storing.
  • When you are working on storing your items one thing that you want to keep in mind is what will happen if you go to get something and it is not there. You want to think about what you are going to do in this case, basically what kind of a back up plan are you going to have. If it is a critical item then you are going to need to make sure that you have easy access to the back-up items, either in a storage cupboard or buying them through another supplier.
  • Make sure that the storage that you are using in your company is considered safe. You want it to be safe for the item being stored, but you also want it to be safe for the people who are using it. This means that it protects the item being stored and prevents people from getting hurt when they go to get the item that they need. What you want to look for is sharp corners, avoiding stooping and lifting whenever you can. But most importantly you want to avoid making the storage areas unstable from stacking heavy items on the tops of things.


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