Friday, 1 June 2012


             There are many ways that we can do to upgrade our Warehouse's performance. One of it is by implementing 5S. Have you heard about 5S ? 
5S is one of the common practice in many Japanese's company but fyi...first I've been exposed to 5S is when I'm working in American company (Western Digital) !! and its about 18 years ago... Lets us see more details about 5S implementation in your Warehouse & you can try it by yourself to see the impact !

What is 5S?

                   "5S" is a philosophy or method or 5 steps that need to be taken to create a "clean and organize" workplace. The 5 steps to do to get a clean and organize workplace as per in 5S are :
Seiri means Sort, 
Seiton means Arrange, 
Seiso means Clean, 
Seiketsu means Standardize and ...
Shitsuke means Maintain.

           Even tough the word "5S" comes from the abbreviation of 5 Japanese words, however, there is no clear evidence on which country actually did firstly introduced the 5S steps to the world. The 5S method only become popular to the production world after it been successfully practiced at the Toyota production plant in Japan in 1980'es. Nowadays, 5S has been adapted by many organizations in the world especially the Japaneses. Compared to 20 years ago, 5S practices now has been emerged. Started from first implementation at the production floor, it has been emerged to other areas such as offices, warehouses, hospitals, universities and even the battleship.

General Benefit by implementing 5S in Warehouse

There are many benefits can be gained by implementing 5S in our Warehouse such as:
1) Make our Warehouse clean and neat
2) Improve Warehouse productivity
3) Improve the Quality of Works
4) Save Warehouse Operation Cost 
5) Improve Delivery Performance
6) Improve Safety aspects
7) Eliminate wastes ("Muda" in Japanese) and..
8) Improve Warehouse staffs' morale

              Lets us look the 5S steps one by one for implementing 5S in the Warehouse: 

STEP 1 (Seiri) -  
SEIRI is the first step in 5S implementation. In this step, all Warehouse staffs are required to identify, sort-out and removes all the unnecessary things from their Warehouse/workplace. In this step, the Warehouse staff might ask us...." What are the unnecessary things in the Warehouse that need to be sorted-out and discard?"..
Here are some example of the unnecessary things in the Warehouse....

The unnecessary direct stocks 
Are the stocks which no longer required by the customers (for example, damaged stocks,expired stocks,aged stocks). These stocks may sit in our Warehouse for years. These unwanted stocks actually consumes space, overhead and storekeeper need to count them again and again in every Physical Inventory exercise (stock check).

The unnecessary indirect stocks
Are the stocks which no longer required by the staffs in performing their job.(for example, the damaged pallets)

The unnecessary equipment
Equipment which are no longer can be used by the staffs in  performing their daily job.(for example, damaged pallet-jacks, un- used wrapping machine,spoiled printer)

The unnecessary documents 
Documents which no longer required by the staffs in performing their daily job. (for example, old documents which exceed retention period, unused forms & printings) 

The Unnecessary items
Items which are not required in the workplace internal & external as well. (for example, unnecessary tree branches,  rubbish lying on the floor, accumulation of dusts on the cartons..etc)  
Unnecessary trees branches that attached to the Warehouse building can be a route to the  pests (ants,roden)  to enter Warehouse

During this first step in 5S, sometimes staffs will face problem to throw the unnecessary things in the Warehouse because they don't have the authority to do that. In this case, the staff need to red-tag (or put any type of identification) to the items and refer it to their superior for further actions and disposition.
Red Tag on spoiled pallet jack pending Superior disposition to write-off and dispose.

STEP 2 (Seiton) - After the staffs sorted-out and removed the unnecessary things at their workplace , the second step in 5S is to arrange the necessary things (things that left behind after SEIRI). 

The necessary things which need to be arranged are:

Necessary stocks 
Arrange the Good stocks based on its frequency of movements (FOM). The high movements stocks need to be arranged near to the dispatch area to reduce the unnecessary movements of people, stocks and the handling equipment.

Necessary Indirect stocks
Arrange the Indirect stocks in Warehouse based on its frequency of movements (FOM).

Necessary Equipment
Arrange the equipment based on its frequency of movements (FOM). Place the equipment that most frequent use by the staff near to him/her. As per below example, the photostat machine &  
printers can be re-arrange near to who frequently using it and can 
cut the unnecessary travelling time. 

By doing SEITON, the unnecessary staffs travelling time in the office can be cut.

Place the equipment near to the staffs that frequenly using it.

Necessary Documents & other general items
Documents and any other items (eg. housekeeping items) which are required by the staffs in performing their daily job need to be arranged based on its Frequency of  Usage. For example, documents that to be used on daily basis must be placed on the work table but documents that to be used one a week can be filed  or put away from the work table. 
SEITON - Place the cleaning equipment near to the place that need to be cleaned 

STEP3 (Seiso) - After arranged the necessary, then we Clean it. Make a 5S cleaning program for daily,weekly and monthly. Base on my experience working in Japanese company, all staffs must clean their work area and equipment belongs to them (under ownership program) 5 minutes before start work and 5 minutes after finished work. During the cleaning activities, the staffs would be able to spot the abnormalities to the equipment as well. 

SEISO - Cleaning is also inspecting

STEP4 (Seiketsu)
After clean the necessary, set the achievement as a standard which must be maintained everyday. Display the standard (GOOD vs BAD practices), 5S cleaning program, equipment ownership checklist and items' re-order level that everybody can understand and follow easily. 
SEIKETSU - Display the standard (GOOD & BAD practices), area ownership,equipment ownership and 5S Audit Result.

SEIKETSU - Create a safe walkway in Warehouse

SEIKETSU - Standardize place for Forklift parking & charging area

SEIKETSU - Clearly segregated the rejects and on-time clearing it

SEIKETSU - Display min-max level to forms and printings to avoid unnecessary stocks holding

STEP5 (Shitsuke) - The last step in 5S is to maintain the high standards that has been achieved maybe by conducting Monthly 5S Competition, Daily 5S Audit, leaders keep on motivating staffs in daily Circle...and dont forget to repeat again Step 1 to 5 from time to time .
The End... 

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