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Phase 3 - Seiso of the 5 S methodology: Featured Article

The main part of seiso is cleaning and in today's workplace it is very easy for us to think that cleaning is somebody else's job. But it is this type of attitude that makes seiso such an important part in the workplace. In fact seiso is actually an attitude that people have about cleaning; this attitude considers dirty and untidy workplaces as intolerable.

This is important to train your workers in because dirtiness is actually related to numerous problems. Dirt can both cause and cover up scratches, but it can also hide hazardous areas. Not to mention the fact that the dirt itself can be hazardous. But those are just a few of the problems dirt and untidiness can cause.

Within seiso there are three broad levels of cleaning.

Here is a look at the three levels of cleaning that are a part of seiso:
1. Overall cleaning of everything
2. Cleaning of specific items, tools, machines and workplaces
3. Cleaning at the detail level, getting to grime in screw threads, corners and crevices

One thing that you need to know when it comes to the cleaning aspect of seiso is that it must be properly planned and it should not be left to just the workers alone. In fact the supervisor or group leader should be the one to make the cleaning schedule, but they should also supervise its implementation until they are happy that everyone understands their role in the cleaning schedule and can do their jobs without question.

Preparing a cleaning schedule that your company is going to follow is actually really simple; you just need to keep in mind a few things. The cleaning schedule can be for the entire workplace or you can break it down into a different schedule for each machine, which ever works best for your company.

Here is how you can go about preparing a cleaning schedule that your company can use to implement seiso.

  1. What - make a list of the cleaning tasks. If something is a really big job, such as a large machine, then you are going to want to divide it into sections first

  2. When - decide on the frequency of each cleaning tasks. Basically which ones need to be done daily, weekly, monthly, etc

  3. Helpful Resources:
    1. The five Ss: Number 3: Seiso
    This is an article that explains to you in detail about what seiso is and why it is so important in the workplace. But in addition to that it gives you some guidelines that you can follow for implementing it in your workplace.

    2. My 5S Corner: How to carry out Seiso
    This blog talks to your briefly about what seiso is and why it is so important, but the main focus of the article is on how to carry out a cleaning schedule, including examples and tips for creating one.

    3. Seiso is Cleaning - The Importance of Seiso
    This blog provides you with what seiso is, but in addition to that it also talks about why seiso is so important. The blog also provides you with real life examples to help get the point across.

    4. 5S Seiso
    This website gives you a very brief description on what seiso is and how it can be carried out in the workplace. But the website also gives you a list of what you are going to need to do in order to ensure that it is properly carried out.

    5. 5S Seiso - Shine
    This article explains to you what seiso is and how it can be done. But the article also gives you advice on how you can go about making sure that this is done in the proper manner and when it should be done.

    6. What is 5 S
    Rather than write an article about what 5 S is and how it works in the workplace this is a slide show that is designed to explain all of that in a fun and interesting manner, through the use of slides and notes.

    7. 5S Implementation
    The main part of this article is to provide you with the steps that you are going to need to follow in order to implement the 5 S program into your workplace, but the article also goes into detail about what the various pillars of the program are.

    8. 5S: The Antidote to Clutter
    This article gives you a brief description of the overview of the entire program but it then goes on to talk about each of the pillars by themselves. When talking about each part of the program it gives you information on what it is and the benefits of practicing it.

    9. What is 5S All About?
    This website allows you to sign up for the training that they provide people for the implementation of 5S. But the website also gives you information on what 5S is all about and how each of the various pillars work and how they work together.

    10. The 5S is a basic strategy to succeed in Lean Implementation
    This article gives you a breakdown of the 5S program and how it works with lean manufacturing, but it also goes into detail about each separate part of the program and how they are needed for lean manufacturing.

  4. Who - if more than one person is involved in an area you are going to want to make sure that you divide up the work that they are both going to be responsible for

  5. How - decide on the best method for each task and then determine which tools are going to be required so that they can complete the task.

  6. Now all you need to do is to put all of the information you have gathered into a huge chart, which will be referred to as the cleaning schedule. This chart should have diagrams to illustrate the key points, but it should also have warnings about safety precautions and anything else that is important.

  7. Once you have completed the chart you are going to want to put it up in a prominent place, where pretty much everybody will see it when they walk by. If it is only for one machine simply put it in a central location for the machine, if it is for the entire workplace you want it in a central location such as in a break room.

  8. Make sure that you supervise the implementation of the cleaning schedule so that everything is getting done correctly and people understand their roles involved with the new schedule. You are also going to need to fine tune your cleaning schedule as necessary.

If you clean with care you are going to be able to help prevent damage to your workplace or to the products that you are making. But at the same time you need to be aware of the fact that cleaning without care can actually cause more damage than it prevents. So when it comes to cleaning you are going to want to make sure that you provide your workers with the appropriate tools to clean their workplaces with so that no more damage is caused by the cleaning tools.A great example of how not using the right tools can damage the equipment is wiping down a soft surface that has hard waste on it can cause scratches on the soft surface.

When you and your workers are cleaning you are also going to want to check on the reasons of why things are getting dirty. To do this you are going to want to figure out what caused the equipment to get dirty in the first place and then see if there is anything that you can do to prevent the same thing from happening again. One great example of this would be a massive amount of dirt in the air. This can be a huge problem because it affects your breathing, but it also covers the equipment and products with a layer of dust that can cause damage to the more fragile machines. So a possible solution would be to check the ventilation systems to see if the filters need to be changed or if there are no filters see if there is a way that you can install filters to reduce the amount of dirt in the air.

But on the other hand seiso is also a form of checking or inspecting. In fact when workers are carrying out their cleaning they should also be on the lookout for minor defects. These minor defects are going to be problems with the machine or equipment that do not need urgent attention because the machine can still run with those defects. But the problem is if these minor defects go unnoticed for a long period of time what is going to happen is that they are going to build up until the machine finally breaks down.

Here are some examples of minor defects that workers should be looking for:

  • Dents

  • - Broken catches

  • - Missing nuts

  • - Loose wires

  • - Missing screws

The problem arises because most of the time operational workers will not take it upon themselves to report these minor defects, nor will they go about fixing it. And the secret is that it is these workers who will notice these minor defects because they are the ones who use the machine or equipment the most. So what you want to do is to keep all of your machines or equipment working like new, so by implementing seiso you can rest assured that these minor defects will be repaired as soon as possible.

In seiso there is a technique called the F-label technique, the F stands for "fault", that helps handle the minor defects.

Here is a look at how the F-label technique is supposed to work.

  1. As soon as the minor defect is discovered, the worker should try and repair it themselves if possible.

  2. If the worker cannot repair the minor defect they need to attach an F-label to the machine as close to the minor defect as possible.

  3. Keep a running list of all of the minor defects and discuss them with the Maintenance department so that you can work out a plan to repair all of the minor defects that the operational workers cannot

  4. Once a defect is repaired you can need to remove the F-label from the machine. But make sure that you do not remove any labels that belong to defects that have not been repaired, even if it makes the machine look unsightly because it is plastered with labels.

In addition to inspecting the machines and equipment seiso can also be used as preventive maintenance. All that the workers have to do is while inspecting the machines and equipment is to look it over to see if the tools need to be sharpened or if hoses needed to be tightened. These wouldn't be considered minor defects because they are still in proper working order they just need a little fine tuning. And the best part about preventive maintenanceis that it ensures that things do not fail during normal operation.

Here are the things that they will be looking at when they perform an audit on the seiso phase of the 5 S program.

  • A waste bin strategy is implemented

  • Bins at regular intervals

  • Bins are marked

  • Floors, walls, windows, etc are maintained at a high level of cleanliness

  • Floors

  • Walls

  • Windows

  • Doors

  • Use of adequate cleaning tools is evident

  • Storage of cleaning tools well done

  • Hanging brooms and mops

  • Other equipment properly stored

  • Machines, equipment, tools maintained at a high level of cleanliness and maintenance schedules displayed

  • Maintenance schedules maintained

  • Cleaning with checking checklist maintained

  • Daily self cleaning is practiced, with a minimum of 5 minutes

  • Daily activity

  • Checklist is used

  • Cleaning responsibility maps and schedules are displayed

  • There is a general appearance of cleanliness all around

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