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5S Standards

Written by Steve Stephenson Free 5s Guide

Step Four in 5S, Seiketsu, involves standardizing work practices. But this is not what we're talking about when we are talking about 5S Standards. What we are talking about here are the standards followed when implementing and using 5S. Is there a standard 5S process? Are there standard 5S procedures? Is there a standard way to implement 5S? Are there standards that can be used to measure 5S success?

The problem is, there aren't any 5S standards. However, there are some standards that apply to various activities that are a part of 5S.

5S involves getting cleaned up and organized. Getting organized involves signs and labels that identify materials, tools, supplies, locations and pathways. When making labels and signs you should be aware of the ANSI Z535 standard.

5S Standard #1 – Know ANSI Z5355

This standard describes the colors, designs and header text to be used for various types of safety signs. You should be familiar with ANSI Z535 so that you will not use these colors, designs and headers when making 5S labels and signs. Non safety related signs must be designed such that they are never confused with safety related signs.

5S Standard #2 – 5S Color Coding

Color coding is an important part of 5S. Colors are used to indicate locations and ownership. Using a standard color coding scheme throughout all of your facilities brings consistency and makes it easy to move from working in one location to another location. There is no official standard for 5S color coding. However, Graphic Products has compiled a consensus standard. A free copy is available here.

You do not need to use this 5s Color Coding Standard. There is no government agency or organization that requires any type of standard for 5S color coding. All this standard does is provide a consensus of what others are doing. Without regard to what color coding standard you use, limit the number of colors to as few as can effectively be used. A proliferation of colors just results in confusion.

5S Standard #3 – Floor Marking Color Coding

Floor marking should conform to your general 5S color coding. However, in your oval scheme of color coding you should take into account that aisles and traffic lanes should be marked with their own colors to designate them as pathways. Also note that 5S uses a red tagging system for making unneeded items. Using red floor marking to designate areas for placing unneeded items makes sense. Black and yellow tape is already recognized as indicating caution or a hazard. So hazardous areas should be marked off with black and yellow floor marking tape.

5S Standard #4 – Get Everyone Involved

If you want 5S to work in your workplace, everyone needs to be involved. That includes management, all the way to the top. If you are a small company, and the company owner is not involved in 5S, the employees will most likely not make it happen. At larger companies, if the plant manager is not involved, then the 5S program will die out. 5S involves putting in a little extra effort now, for big savings in the future. Our human nature is to put off until tomorrow, what isn't an emergency today. If employees don't see that management cares about 5S, then typically they won't care and nothing changes.

5S Standard #5 – There Are Five S's

For 5S to be successful you must do all five of the 5S's:

  1. Sorting (Seiri): Eliminate unneeded tools, supplies and procedures. Keep only the essential items. Store them in easily-accessible locations. Anything that is not needed is stored in a remote location or thrown out.
  2. Set in order (Seiton): A place for everything and everything in its place. Each "place" must be clearly labeled or marked. Items that are used most often used should be the most easily accessible.
  3. Shining (Seiso): Clean and keep the workplace clean and organized.
  4. Standardizing (Seiketsu): Work practices, locations, tools and procedures should be consistent and standardized.
  5. Sustain (Shitsuke): Maintain and review your 5S standards. Go back to step one and go through the first four steps of 5S again.

Follow these 5S "standards" and you'll be off to a good start in getting your 5S System up and running successfully.

The information presented in this document was obtained from sources that we deem reliable; Graphic Products does not guarantee accuracy or completeness. Graphic Products, Inc. makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied. Users of this document should consult municipal, state, and federal code and/or verify all information with the appropriate regulatory agency.

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