5S is a methodology for organizing a workplace that centers on 5 concepts:
- Sorting: Eliminate all unnecessary tools, parts, and instructions. Anything that is not required for the current work should be stored in a designated area or discarded.
- Stabilizing / Straightening: Everything should have a place. The location for each item should be clearly labeled. Most used equipment should be most accessible. Equipment should be kept close to where it is used.
- Sweeping / Shining: Keep the workspace and equipmnt clean, tidy, and organized. Cleaning should happen on a regular (daily) basis, if not more frequently in a "Clean as You Go" approach.
- Standardizing: All work stations for a particular job should be identical. All employees doing the same job should be able to work in any station with the same tols that are in the smae location in every station.
- Sustaining: Main focus on the previous 4 S's.
To me, all of these make sense in shared workspaces - labs are a good example. In a lab, you might have several people using the same workspace at various times. People might also use different workspaces throughout the day, depending on the task. All 5 of the S's make sense here, to make it easy for people to effectively use these spaces.
However, I don't expect anyone else to use my cube or office for as long as I have it. The first three S's make sense, to some extent. I think that labeling everything might be a bit overkill, and Shining might not be as big of an issue in an office as it is in a lab.
Does applying a full 5S policy make sense in an office? Are there variations on 5S that make more sense in the office?