The concepts of „lean manufacturing“ or „lean office“ stand simply for improvement of efficiency and the steps related to achieving this goal. And although we encounter such initiatives mostly in larger companies, small and medium-sized businesses as well as individuals can successfully benefit from these concepts too.

The improvement of efficiency is achieved mostly thanks to application of various methods that in many cases originated directly with the greatest innovators in the business sphere, companies like Toyota or GE. These methods may be applied in manufacturing as well as in the service industry or in stores. The new series of the Know How Klub will introduce you to several of these methods as well as to ways how to successfully implement them in your company.

One of the most effortless and at the same time most effective methods to achieve improved efficiency at work is the introduction of the „5S“ method.

What is 5S?


Many people believe that 5S means just housekeeping. And these people often are the very managers tasked with implementing the 5S methods in the businesses. However, 5S stands for much more – it is one of the basic building stones of lean production or lean office.


The abbreviation 5S is based on the description of the individual steps:


Seiri = Sort
Seiton = Systematize
Seiso = Shine
Seikutsu = Standardise
Shitsuke = Sustain

Many sources on the internet offer detailed descriptions of each step. However, the most important thing is to adjust all the steps to the needs of the specific company and its employees. And that is why instead of providing a manual we rather recommend consulting the possible implementation with professionals. The least a professional can do is to arrange a first free consultation and together you may be able to find out whether 5S is the right choice for you and how the implementation could help (including a customized calculation of savings).


What are the benefits of 5S? 


Poorly implemented 5S can end up being rather negatively perceived by the employees and important procedures will often remain unutilised in practice. However, a well implemented system offers the possibility of several important achievements:


IMPROVED EFFICIENCY due to elimination of disorder and better level of organisation


FEWER DELAYS due to better workspace organisation (be it in the production or in the office) and easier location of required tools or documents


SHORTENING OF PRODUCTION TIME due to smart and ergonomic handling of items and equipment


IMPROVED MORALE due to the involvement of employees and rearrangement of workplaces to suit their needs and based on their feedback


APPLICATION IN MARKETING due to the possible use in selling arguments and as means to gain the trust of the customers (e.g. using one of the 5S logos in promotion materials)


HIGHER QUALITY due to standardisation of work processes, maintenance of workplaces and risk reduction

ENERGY SAVINGS due to efficiency increase


What to keep in mind


The important thing is to realize that the implementation of these methods is not supposed to turn the employees into robots. The objective is much more to make their work easier and hence improving the performance of the entire company. Therefore the implementation should not be focused only on the individual rules and methods but especially on adjusting them to suit your  employees and the work they are performing. Due to the fact that in the Czech Republic people tend to be often wary of such undertakings and in some cases may resist these initiatives, it is also good to think of the timing and the way in which the implementation will be communicated to your employees.

The cornerstone of success is namely the fact that all employees take part in this project.

As a partner of the Know How Klub project the company FOREAST Agency offers free consulting on process optimisation, lean production and audit of company processes. In case of interest please contact us at 775 654 331.