Top Companies Using 5S March 11 2015

The 5S workplace organization system was first implemented in Japan as a way to streamline and maintain an efficient work space. The standardization process is broken down into five pillars, which translate to sort, straighten, shine, standardize, and sustain. These steps can be taken to create a better functioning workplace than ever before.

Though 5S is most famously implemented by Toyota in Japan, many western companies are following suit to their business partners of the east and have begun using the 5S system in their own work environments.

Hewlett-Packard; Cupertino, California – The Computer Systems Division of Hewlett-Packard particularly utilizes the 5S pillar of seiton, or straighten. This pillar is all about streamlining the daily processes of workers by systematically arranging necessary work space items to prevent loss of time. Hewlett-Packard uses stacked storage areas, similar to supermarket shelves, to systematically store parts needed for building systems.

Boeing; Chicago, Illinois – The airline manufacturing giant utilizes a variation of the 5S system called the Lean Production System, which adds a focus on safety in addition to the other pillars. By implementing 5S and the Lean Production System on both the factory floor and in the office, Boeing adds an element of simplicity and security to all levels of their business and ensures maximum efficiency.

Harley-Davison Motor Company ; Milwaukee, Wisconsin – More and more branches of the Harley-Davidson factories are turning to lean manufacturing in an attempt to streamline and increase overall efficiency. The Kansas City, Missouri plant began to make new moves toward 5S after being threatened with dissolution; workers were told they would be sent to the York, Pennsylvania plant if concessions in manufacturing weren't made. Ultimately, this move to systematically simplify each Harley-Davidson plant will save the company as a whole insurmountable costs in time and in safety measures.

Is your company utilizing one or more of the 5S pillars? How does the system affect your overall costs and performance?