A Place For Everything
Due to COVID-19 outbreak, many organizations are suffering slowdown

A Place For


In both our professional & personal life, sometimes we tend to ignore what may seem like a “waste of time” activity. However, in the long run a few minutes dedicated to some “housekeeping” can result in long term waste reduction and better productivity, as well as creating an efficient workflow.

Due to COVID-19 outbreak, many organizations are suffering a slowdown in business as a result of social distancing and uncertainty with a complete shut down in some sectors; Management reaction to the pressure is looking at ways to cut cost; and the first thing they look at are the salaries whether cutting or through layoffs.

Leaders on the other side investigate ways to manage business more efficiently and think of ways to manage cost reduction to meet the severe competition and aggressiveness on pricing, while maintaining targeted profit margins. Business efficiency is a way to stay on top of the game keeping the most valuable resources in any organization, people.

A Place for Everything

Based on Lean Six Sigma

Let me first introduce -in a nutshell – “Lean Six Sigma” for those who are not acquainted with it;
Lean Six Sigma AKA as LSS is a method that relies on a collaborative team effort to improve performance by systematically removing waste and reducing variation. Lean Six Sigma not only reduces process defects and waste, but also provides a framework for overall organizational culture change.

Six Sigma is a discipline, statistical-based, data-driven approach and continuous improvement methodology for eliminating defects in a product, process or service. Six Sigma can also be thought of as a measure of process performance, with Six Sigma being the goal, based on the defects per million.

Sigma represents the population standard deviation, which is a measure of the variation in a data set collected about the process. If a defect is defined by specification limits separating good from bad outcomes of a process, then a six-sigma process has a process mean (average) that is six standard deviations from the nearest specification limit. This provides enough buffer between the process natural variation and the specification limits.

Six Sigma is a disciplined, statistical-based, data-driven approach and continuous improvement methodology

Lean manufacturing is a methodology that focuses on minimizing waste within manufacturing systems while simultaneously maximizing productivity. Lean manufacturing is based on a number of specific principles, such as Kaizen, or continuous improvement.

Lean and Six Sigma, is the combination of faster process with minimizing while Six Sigma take care of less defects in any given process. In this article I will focus on 5S, a tool used in Lean Six Sigma (LSS) projects for a quick win.

In a professional environment, 5S is used to eliminate wasted inventory, time, and space. It is a proven tool and once implemented it results in enhanced work productivity, better product quality thus resulting in overall lower costs and higher efficiencies.

5S tool is a method composed of the terms: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. This methodology was a building block to allow Just-In-Time Manufacturing “JIT”

The naming conventions are as not as important as taking each step-in order and completing each before moving on to the next.

The success of 5S is due to its simplicity, ease of understanding, quick impact, and universal applications. It can be applied in production areas, office areas, and information systems.

The 5S philosophy is:

“A place for everything and everything in its place.”

Developed in Japan, 5S was identified as one of the techniques that enabled Just-in-Time, especially in the manufacturing industry.

Although 5S practice is most commonly witnessed in manufacturing, warehouses, offices and hospitals, it can also be well implemented in any workplace.

The methodology involves a step-by-step elimination of all waste that accumulates in a workplace over time. Post identifying & eliminating all waste, a culture of continuous improvement is put into practice. This results in both direct & indirect productivity and cost reduction.

Let us go through the 5S process step by step:

1. Sorting “Seiri”

Separating the essential from the non-essential items.
It creates a “red” tag event where all items in an area are tagged for a later discussion with the stakeholders. All “red” tagged items are taken to an area (if possible) and the stakeholders determine how to sort them (discard, store, keep, etc.). Before the next step starts, unnecessary items for the workspace are removed, and identifies physical obstacles or safety issues and prepares to address them with the team and come up with solutions to remove or mitigate them in order to prevent the possibility of items being stored that don’t belong.

2. Set in Order (Seiton)

Organizing the essential materials where everything has its place.
Arranging items in order to minimize* travel time and providing optimal ergonomics. Items that are used less frequently should be placed further away than more frequently used ones. Simply the method of getting tasks done, picking, and placing items, and making it visible when something is out of place. It organizes an area for simple flow of materials in and out of the workspace.
Always keeping the talented personnel at their workstations; so that their skillsets are most effectively used as much as possible.

3. Shining (Seiso)

This means to clean…intensely Sweep, vacuum, degrease, paint, label, etc. It is more than just normal cleaning. This could mean replacing floors and painting walls, repairing sections, improving lighting, replacing worn machine parts, removing or updating outdated instructions, etc.

4. Standardizing (Seiketsu)

Creating standard procedures;
Signage, Labels, Color codes, Color scheme, font, and appearance.
Using common shadow boards at all machines, workstations, etc. with standardized arrangements. As well as common handles, keyboards, labels, and/or lights, file naming conventions, work instruction and the list goes on.
Not all standardization is visually obvious. Some are transactional in nature, but the point is to simplify, and reduce variation. A little upfront investment of time will go a long way towards permanent efficient gains.
Establishing a system to maintain & making 5S a habit.

5. Sustaining (Shitsuke)

The program is not over. Like any Six Sigma project, controls and countermeasures defined. 5S uses an ongoing audit system.
When the project in one area achieves good results, it is mandatory to seek many quick hits and positive physical changes. 5S is often one of the components in a Kaizen Event, where small projects would result in little improvement along the way.

Additional “S’s” were added to the 5S module to incorporate important elements of the modern workplace like “Safety”.
Safety is always a prerequisite for any project or event and should be reviewed at every stage. More recently there has also been an “S” for Customer “Satisfaction” and another one for “Security”
Any production room or a manufacturing plant in-charge can count nightmares of a messy, over stocked, redundant material, piles & piles of stationery/paperwork etc.

Personally, I have used this tool in every print production room that was managed at a customer’s premises. This was done periodically in order to ensure the benefits were sustainable. Each & every time, both the onsite team and the customer appreciated the “professionalism” and the efficiencies achieved. There was no time lost to find things or when a shift changed hands.
Any new team member who joined the site, 5S orientation became the cornerstone of the core induction. This also helped the team to speak the same language even when they were relocated to another site. It became “the-way-we-work” and we would place a banner in the print rooms to proudly announce “This Print Room uses 5S (an LSS tool)” – this would mean minimal mistakes, clean & organized print room, labeled areas for easy workflow, which is efficient.
All this finally affects the bottom line by avoiding, repeating and/or making mistakes, hence reducing costs.
Workplace 5S reflects the company’s overall performance and perception. The changes from the program can reduce job hazards and improve safety in the workplace.

5S orientation became the cornerstone of the core induction


When mere survival in business is not the objective, an organization needs to implement best practices as well as making it a habit to use tools to thrive in business. In order to achieve that goal, it’s no surprise that the cost must be controlled, and waste must be minimalized or eliminated. This is one of the must do areas in the time of disruption where we need to revisit the way we do business and the way we organize the workplace.   

The many benefits that an organization can reap from implementing 5S methods on the production line or in the business office are enlisted below –

  1. Identify Abnormality.
  2. Identify areas of wastages and reduce the waste.
  3. Improve productivity.
  4. Reduce cost
  5. Improve safety.

The importance of Teamwork and Teamwork improvement through everyone’s participation is critical both for implementing as well as sustaining the improvements.

The most important take home from this is how 5S can work towards QUICK WINS for better ways to do business.

In Pinnacle we understand the importance of applying the scientific yet practical ways of doing the business; we help our clients to be more productive and cost efficient using appropriate Lean Six Sigma Tools while assisting clients in achieving their business objective and goals.

In Pinnacle, our service delivery consultants will be able to help you assess quickly your workplace through our assessment methodology and design and recommend the best plans based on 5S and deploy the plans in your workplace, whether it is an office, production room, factory, or manufacturing facilities.

Our Audit Team will be able to support in continuous improvements and making sure that what our consultants team have agreed upon with you and your team is implemented so that your business achieve the cost efficiency and effectiveness in process you desire to be competitive.  

Pinnacle is a multi-countries consultancy firm, our consultants are spread around the world; we have built our organization on modern business model with agility, diversity, and resilience to the business dynamics, we have chosen our technology platform to support our modern mindset thus we work from anywhere …. As work is not a place anymore. We implement Lean Six Sigma in everything we do whether internally or externally at our client sites.  

Please use contact us and one of our business development managers will be calling you to support

This article is written by:
Shanu Joshi
Pinnacle Service Delivery Consultant
Pinnacle Ltd.

Pinnacle Ltd. is a multi-countries modern consultancy firm, with offices around 11 countries in 4 continents, and 28 consultants working remotely and virtually managed.

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