Five S – Importance – Photography

Five S is the silent informer of a company’s attitude to quality. Easiest way to determine a company’s attitude towards improvement activities is simply to walk around the factory and observe the house keeping practices on the shop floor. Housekeeping often tells us more about the company than any financial statement. One can judge the level of improvement activities from the way tools are stored, swath and chips from machines handled, work table organised, inspection points indicated, factory floor swept, machines cleaned, toilet condition etc.

During our association with our member organisation some photographs were shared by them. You may find similar conditions in many orgnisations…..

Here are some sample photographs of Food Preparation area

Picture 565

Picture 564

Picture 562

Some photographs of shop floor

Phoographs of Electrical Point board, wiring and switches

Picture 170

Picture 139

Washrooms photographs

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Of course, housekeeping practices reflect the management’s general attitude towards work. We should understand the linkage between the level of Five S and the amount of defective products produced, the number of machine breakdown, inventory level and so on. Five S should therefore, be among the first steps management should take for improving the company’s quality status.

Take photographs of the area before carrying out Five S. Thereafter carry out the activity. Such photographs should cover every thing. General view of the area, individual machines, shelves, water or oil logged areas etc. Then display them for people to see so as to create a visual impact.

Putting into Practice is the Best Way of Learning

It happened long back. I was working in Bombay in a tyre factory. One day while I was travelling in the local train, one fellow passenger smiled at me. I could not place him and gave a blank stare. Next day when I was at the factory in the Mixing Hall, an operator who was known to me was sulky. When I enquired he told me that I did not greet him properly in the train on the previous day. I was surprised and asked him how could he expect me to recognize him without the carbon black on his face. It may look funny but that is a fact.

Then I went for an interview to another plant, where I was permitted to see the plant. I was astonished to see the cleanliness of the factory particularly Mixing Hall. Later when I joined that organisation I could find out the reasons for the cleanliness. The unit was new and modern with direct pipe line feeding system, but more than that it was due to the Mixing Hall manager’s obsession for cleanliness. But we did not realise how important it was and used to make fun of his mad like obsession for house keeping. Our realisation came only when he left that area. The house keeping went down and along with that quality as well as productivity.

Five years back when I read Takashi Osadasan’s Five S, I remembered my friend late Mr. K.L. Sehgal who had this obsession for cleanliness. I only wish that he knew Five S and I am sure he would have made that factory a temple.

The purpose of this booklet is to give an overview about the concept. It is something one should practice and for that one should read Takashi Osadasan’s book at least ten times and take further guidance from ‘Putting Five S to work’, a practical step by step approach given by Hiroyuke Hiranosan, Chairman, JIT Management Laboratory Co., Tokyo, Japan.

As Takashi Osadasan says putting into practice is the best way of learning. Five S are the first step and Quality Circle members should give utmost attention to this concept and put it into practice in their organisation. Management should realize that only Quality Circles could help them in making this to happen.

We have started adopting Five S concept in our QCFI Headquarters. This not only made our office more neat and clean but also helped to improve our efficiency.

K. Ganapathy

From – Introduction of Five S – Work Place Management – A QCFI Publication