Insights

5S and the Food Industry

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

5S is more than a simple housekeeping initiative.  5S is a five-step process that transforms a traditional work site into a visual factory and lays the foundation for a Lean Enterprise System.  It can benefit any organization and brings unique benefits to the food and beverage industry.

5S benefits your customers by enabling you to bring the highest quality at the lowest cost and the best lead time to the marketplace.  One benefit that is unique to food and beverage is that 5S also enables you to minimize food safety risks for your consumers.

5S benefits your company by improving your profitability, credibility, flexibility, and integrity while increasing employee engagement and ownership.

5S benefits your employees by improving their safety and job security.  It also encourages employee involvement and increases job satisfaction.

5S in the food and beverage industry

This sounds like and is a tall order for what some people consider a housekeeping program.  The fact of the matter is that 5S has delivered much more than simple workplace organization for many world class companies.  Proper deployment of 5S will help you to instill self-discipline in a positive manner while your site becomes a visual factory.  This self-discipline and visual management will help in many ways:

Safety:  One of the first things we learn about safety is that an organized workplace is a safe workplace.  5S certainly can help you achieve the organization needed for a safe workplace.

Quality:  Improved discipline and visual management will improve your Quality by reducing variability in your process.  Improved organization will reduce the risk of foreign matter complaints or the misuse of chemicals.

Efficiency and Waste Reduction:  5S will make waste more obvious giving you the opportunity to become more efficient.  Change-over times will improve.

Time:  Your team members will spend less time finding and retrieving tools and change-parts through 5S.  This will give them more time to perform value-added tasks. 

Morale:  Your team members will become more engaged as they help establish and maintain the 5S Standards.  They will be excited by the positive change and by seeing that they can make a difference.  This will turn into ownership.

5S also promotes an improved work flow and the establishment of standards.  You can see why many organizations start their Lean transformation by implementing 5S since it improves Safety, Quality, efficiencies, waste reduction, and morale while instilling the discipline needed for long term sustained improvement.  What about your organization?  Are you ready for the challenge?