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Oct 2016


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Lean 6S: 5S+ Safety - By AtoZ Compliance

Online Event


Key Take Away:

Workplace organization (5S) is a basic prerequisite to a comprehensive lean manufacturing program, and it also supports safety (OSHAS 18001) by removing clutter from the workplace. The explicit addition of safety to get 6S results in a comprehensive program to reduce waste and ensure safety.


While 6S is a relatively new term, its elements were actually fundamental to Henry Ford's world class lean manufacturing program. Ford recognized that time spent to deal with clutter was non-value-adding, and he also introduced modern safety methods such as error-proofing and lockout–tagout. The same principles carry over into today's factory to deliver proven results.

5S stands for Seiri (Clearing Up), Seiton (Organizing), Seiso (Cleaning), Shitsuke (Discipline), and Seiketsu (Standardization). Add Safety to get 6S, a comprehensive program for organizing the workplace and ensuring safety.

6S leaves nothing to chance. A clean and organized workplace (Seiso) leaves problems such as leaking oil or hydraulic fluid with nowhere to hide. "When in doubt, throw it out" (Seiri) is promoted through abundant waste containers as practiced originally at Ford; this is also why there is very little litter at Disney theme parks.

"A place for everything, and everything in its place" (Seiton) means workers do not have to waste time to search for parts or tools. Preventive maintenance, an aspect of Shitsuke, prevents equipment downtime rather than correcting it when it happens. Standardization makes improvements permanent parts of the job.

Why Should You Attend:

The current controversy over the minimum wage omits the elephant in the living room: the fact that many minimum wage jobs could pay $15 or even $20 an hour in the absence of non-value-adding motions and activities. The amount of walking one sees in most fast food restaurants suggests that one could not pay somebody like Wolfgang Puck much more than minimum wage to do the work as it is currently designed. Waste motion and waste effort are hidden costs for all stakeholders ("interested parties" in ISO 9001:2015) including employees, customers, and investors.

As another example, Frank Gilbreth proved in the early 20th century that brick laying, as it had been practiced for thousands of years, wasted 64% of the worker's labor. Organization (Seiton) placed the bricks at waist level rather than on the ground so the brick layers did not have to bend over to get them. This improved productivity from 125 to 350 bricks per hours, and with less physical effort. Gilbreth also cited the superiority of a smooth planked work floor (another application of 5S) over a surface of leveled earth in reducing the worker's fatigue. A firm place to stand improves the job's ergonomics and improves productivity, but people became accustomed to doing without it so waste effort often hid in plain view. This underscores the value of standardization (Seiketsu), which prevents backsliding to inferior and inefficient methods.

Areas Covered In This Webinar:

The value of what we now call 5S began to be recognized in the early 20th century along with motion efficiency (Frank Gilbreth) and scientific management (Frederick Winslow Taylor). Employers began to recognize the enormous waste associated with workplace clutter, such as workers having to search for parts and tools to perform the next job. This resulted in organization methods such as the now-familiar shadow boards for tools and parts. Henry Ford took the new ideas to their utmost by creating what we now call 6S.

• Seiri (Clearing Up) means to remove from the workplace anything that is not needed. Readily available trash cans mean that genuine litter gets thrown away quickly, but workers also look proactively for clutter. A popular technique is to put a red tag on any item that workers believe is unnecessary. If nobody objects to the red tag during a certain period of time, this proves that the item is indeed unnecessary and can be discarded or put into offline storage.

• Seiton (Organizing) means there is a specific location for all relevant tools and parts. This eliminates the need to search for them. Shadow boards are a traditional way to achieve this.

• Seiso(Cleaning) delivers a clean workplace, including a clean floor. This leaves abnormalities such as leaking oil or hydraulic fluid, or missing parts from equipment and product, with nowhere to hide.

• Shitsuke (Discipline) embodies Rudyard Kipling's "Mind you keep your rifle and yourself just so," and it includes preventive maintenance. Minor equipment stoppages are regarded as indicators of ongoing trouble rather than sporadic inconveniences, and their root causes are identified and eliminated.

Learning Objectives:

• Know the origin of 6S in motion efficiency and scientific management

• Know the value of 6S to lean manufacturing and safety

• Know, understand, and apply the components of 6S as described above

• Know how visual controls support 6S

• Understand and apply "Can't rather than don't" to safety and, by implication, quality

Who Will Benefit:

• Manufacturing Managers

• Process Engineers

• CEO/Presidents

• VP/Director of Supply Chain & Materials Management

• Quality / Operations VPs / Directors

Speakers Profile:

William A. Levinson
William A. Levinson, P.E., is the principal of Levinson Productivity Systems, P.C. He is an ASQ Fellow, Certified Quality Engineer, Quality Auditor, Quality Manager, Reliability Engineer, and Six Sigma Black Belt.

He is also the author of several books on quality, productivity, and management, of which the most recent is The Expanded and Annotated My Life and Work: Henry Ford's Universal Code for World-Class Success.

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