Toyota Production System and 5s

This essay sample on Toyota 5s provides all necessary basic info on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.


Brief outline of the organization Implementation of 5S with respect of TQM and complement ISO Organizational culture and change undertaken in implementing 5S Content Define 5S Importance of 5S in the organization Culture that supports the 5S in the organization Methodology of 5S implementation How it can complement TQM and ISO certification Recommend organizational change that can to be undertaken to further improve quality Conclusion Outlook of 5S for the organization Evaluate the organizational culture and change in implementing quality.

Management prospective on 5S in regards to quality. An example of 5S by Toyota Definition of 5S 5S, the brainchild of Hiroyuki Hirano from Japan, is widely considered as being the basis for Lean Manufacturing as it is concerned with stability and standardization to bring about improved safety, quality, delivery performance and cost control.

Why a basis for Lean? Lean Manufacturing is a methodology derived from the Toyota Production System TPS) which originated in post World War II Japan. It came about when Kiichiro Toyoda and Taiichi Ohno amongst others explored means of making a high variety of quality cars at minimal cost, given the lack of capital expenditure available at the time. The fundamental principle of TPS is to increase productivity and generate product flow through the value stream by a disciplined and focused effort on eliminating waste.

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The foundation for TPS is stability, i. e. minimal process variation, this being achieved by standardization of work practices.

What is Waste?

Waste (Muda) in “lean” terms is described perfectly by Wikipedia as being any expenditure of resources for means other than the creation of value for the presumed customer. Waste can include anything from excessive motion and transport of materials to defects, over-production and inventory. Most literature now describes the 8 wastes, although Toyota have classified many more. What are the 5S’s? 5S is a systematic approach to workplace organization. The 5S’s are: 1. Sort (Seiri) – sort out what is needed and get rid of what isn’t 2. Set (Seiton) – a place for everything and everything in its place 3.

Shine (Seiso) – clean and maintain so always looks like the photo 4. Standardize (Seiketsu) – make it the standard and instill discipline 5. Sustain (Shitsuke) – audit the system and improve it (start again) It should be mentioned for accuracy that Toyota uses 4S. Sustainability, the fifth “S”, is already encompassed within the TPS continuous improvement culture. Beside the improvements on safety, quality, delivery and cost mentioned above, there are also additional behavioral benefits associated with 5S, such as increased pride and sense of ownership in the workplace, increased discipline and higher employee motivation.

Hirano is reported to have said that good workplaces begin with 5S and bad workplaces fall apart beginning with 5S. So why is this? 5S only works when there is top-down commitment from senior management to operator level. Without this any 5S program is doomed from the outset. Also there needs to be an infrastructure in place for sustainability and continuous improvement (time and resources, ideas scheme etc. ) otherwise the best you’ll achieve is 4S before the system stagnates. 5S will not work if it is not correctly understood.

It is not simply a tidying up exercise and if it is believed as such then the program will only succeed to the second “S” before eventually being considered a failure. It works when management understand 5S as being fundamental to good performance rather than secondary to it. 5S succeeds in environments where there is discipline and self regulations in place to ensure standards are kept, this being owned by the workforce itself. Standards are typically maintained through a simple daily auditing system of different areas, or zones, with a person or small team being responsible for each.

Even with all this in place, long term sustainability will only be possible if the system is continually measured and improved and if members of senior management carry out periodic inspections of each area. One common error by senior management is never being visible on the factory floor. The first step, “Sort”, begins with selecting a dedicated area for focus (could be an office environment, not only a factory floor) and assigning red tags to items that are either no longer needed or their usefulness is unknown.

A quarantine area needs to be assigned for all red tagged items if they cannot be thrown away immediately, or if there is a lot of uncertainty as to whether items are still required. This both frees up space in the workplace and provides time to decide whether to keep or discard the items in question. There’s a tendency at this stage for “magpies” to want to hang onto stuff that hasn’t been used for a long time. Critical reflection is required to ensure that emotional ties do not get in the way of logic.

It also involves implementation of visual management to highlight to anyone whether a normal or abnormal state exists. The simplest of examples is a petrol gauge in a car. Green signals good, red signals bad. Another would be floor markings and labels indicating where an item should be found if not being used.

The third step, “Shine”, requires items and the workplace to be cleaned and in a good state of repair. It is also about inspecting, as during inspection you will tend to find risks to safety and quality, for example due to damaged tools or faulty equipment. Shine does not just apply to material objects, but also people. Ensuring good condition of the correct clothing and that the correct PPE is being worn is equally important. For example gloves, hard hats, safety glasses and steel toe caps.

The forth step, “Standardize”, is about putting in place procedures and ensuring that a workplace is always how it should be. It provides visual management aids and daily checks in order to easily recognize whether the standard developed in the first three steps is being maintained. Visual management display boards in the work areas, creation of an address system and labelling of all equipment are key parts of this step.

The final step, “Sustain” is essentially about involving and motivating all members of the organization in assuring that the standards are applied and improved through employee empowerment and autonomy. Lean Manufacturing is as much about engaging and empowering the full intellectual capacity of the organization as it is about tools and methods. The PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) or Demin Cycleis the methodology adopted by most lean organizations for continuous improvement activity.

Sustain not only involves daily auditing of the workplace by those that work in it, but also periodic inspections by all management levels. For example by local managers on a weekly basis to ensure all check sheets are signed off, and by the senior managers on a monthly basis. Many companies have recognition or reward schemes in place to encourage healthy competition between work areas or between factories within the same organization. This also serves to help generate and turn improvement ideas into action.

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Toyota Production System and 5s. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Toyota Production System and 5s
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