In just a few short weeks, the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) has shifted the way that we live and go about day to day business. The recommendations and requirements seem to change every day, and it is our responsibility as essential businesses to not only listen to these but to adapt to them. Find more information on the recommendations from the CDC here. These recommendations need to be taken very seriously during this pandemic, and there are processes that can help your facility do this. One of these processes to help keep your facility clean and ready for anything is to utilize 5S Methodology.
In the past few years, 5S methodology has become a common practice for many different manufacturing facilities in a wide range of industries. Originating from Japan, the five steps describe the ultimate process for workplace organization. These steps are Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. This method keeps the workplace clean and organized while also creating a more efficient and disciplined work environment.
Learn more about the benefits of 5S methodology in one of our previous posts here.
So how can this methodology help organizations during this worldwide pandemic? No matter what industry a company falls into, every single business is currently being affected in one way or another by COVID-19. By following these basic 5S principles, companies can effectively minimize the risk of exposure to themselves and others.
Where typically this step looks at eliminating unnecessary tools and materials from everyday operations, in this case, it is going to pay more attention to the tools and equipment necessary for essential operations. All of the tools that are not needed to perform essential business operations should be removed from work areas to reduce the amount of surface area for the virus to spread to. Then, the tools that are still needed for essential operations should be sorted and cleaned after every individual employee comes into contact with them.
By sorting tools and equipment that have already been used into a designated cleaning area, it reduces the risk of an employee accidentally coming into contact with a contaminated tool, and will therefore reduce the exposure that this virus has in the work environment.
Once the required tools and equipment are organized, the next step is to straighten. When looking at this step from the perspective of COVID-19, it is essentially making sure that all of the required tools are clearly labeled as clean or dirty and are easily located by all employees. This includes training the necessary employees on the new procedures, utilizing visuals such as signs and tag, and making sure that the first step is followed.
Arguably the most important step during this pandemic is Shine, which is cleaning everything that is used during the essential business operations. In these times, it is important to “shine” every single tool, workstation, and area that individuals are touching. By keeping everything clean and disinfected, it effectively reduces the risk of spreading this virus and any others that may be out there.
To standardize is to set a new standard in the workplace with the new, clean organizational methods. The most important part of this step is setting a specific workflow that is easy to understand that will allow all employees to stick to the plan.
Lastly, another one of the most important steps is to sustain. These steps should become the routine, the new normal, so that the facility can easily sustain this level of organization and cleanliness. By making this a new standard, it sets up the facility to thrive not just during this pandemic but to prevent any future outbreaks of other sicknesses.
Coming out of this era, there is going to be a movement to make things not just safer but cleaner and more adaptable to outbreaks like this. Be prepared by knowing the steps of 5S and implementing them as a new standard in your facility. Not only will this create a safer and healthier environment for your employees, but it will also create more efficient processes that will lead to a decrease in overhead and an increase in productivity. Contact us today for more information on the 5S process or to learn how we can help you keep your facility organized and create the next generation of factory space.
“5S.” Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma Definitions, 2020, www.leansixsigmadefinition.com/glossary/5s/.
Paulise, Lu. “How to Use 5S to Reduce Risk Exposure to Covid-19.” Thrive Global, 16 Mar. 2020, thriveglobal.com/stories/how-to-use-5s-to-reduce-risk-exposure-to-covid-19/.