5S is a powerful lean manufacturing tool that can offer many benefits to any maintenance department. Even if you are doing commercial facility maintenance and not industrial maintenance, 5S can help you deliver better and more consistent maintenance services. Originally developed in Japan it is now used by many manufacturing organizations worldwide to improve industrial operations & safety. Fundamentally it is a workplace organization method based on five principles:
- Sort – Sort out materials, choose items to stay and items to go.
- Set in Order – Create organization and put items in specific places.
- Shine – Ensure efforts are proactive so areas are clean, tidy, and methodical.
- Standardize – Standards should be created so processes and organization are uniform.
- Sustain – Audits combined with new practices and disciplines are sustained.
How CMMS software can help implement 5S ideas in the maintenance department
5S is all about organization. Using maintenance software to organize and setup relationships between your equipment, spare parts and locations makes it much easier and faster to fix problems or identify potentially related issues e.g. power surges on a specific pump are causing failures in other equipment on the same line. If a specific machine is being retired it becomes easier to identify spares used only by that machine. You can then dispose of these unwanted spares reducing clutter and space used in your stock rooms. Having maintenance requests submitted by email or over the Internet makes it easier to track them and reduces the amount of paper forms you keep around in maintenance work areas.
Waste can be removed – One of the important steps to 5S is to eliminate waste. This usually happens in the “sort” phase of 5S. By utilizing the help of a CMMS system, waste such unneeded paper records can be eliminated as records are now stored in the maintenance program database. Unwanted parts and supplies can be sold off when equipment is retired.
When using set in order - the second “S” of 5S you organize maintenance supplies & spares effectively. CMMS software can achieve better inventory control by tracking & updating spare parts and supplies being stored and utilized. Using task templates you have a pre-built list of parts and supplies required for each work order. This makes it easier for technicians to pull up all the items they need to complete the work order before they head out to complete the work.
The third “S” (Shine) means that you are proactive so work areas are clean and tidy. Standard work order instructions can include instructions for cleaning up & disposing old parts & supplies. Instructions can be provided on how to leave machinery clean & free of debris that could cause future breakdowns – e.g. “make sure to clean up any oil spills on shaft housing before closing panel”, “make sure harness is clear of reversing gear before closing access port”.
Increased labor productivity – Standardize, the fourth step in 5S focuses on standardizing practices and pairs well with scheduling specific tasks using the CMMS system. For example, maintenance staff is used more effectively as more work is completed in a timely manner due to clearly defined and delegated tasks. The tasks themselves can be standardized using templates so that the proper procedure is followed each time. This reduces time wasted in looking up information or technicians having to contact other technicians for work order updates and so on.
Reduce Costs and Downtime – The last “S” in 5S is to Sustain practices and environments. This is the most critical piece of 5s and is the common step where 5S fails. Using a CMMS program you can schedule routine maintenance inspections, machine/area condition monitoring, and overall scheduling of other periodic tasks for employees. The core of a maintenance management system is setting up and managing preventive maintenance. This ensures that work orders are correctly scheduled and proper work practices are followed each time. Effectively the software helps keep you on track. Using reports provide by the software also allows you to check progress and detect when you are slipping back.
CMMS software selection guide
If you are looking for maintenance software you can download and try out a free 30-day trial of our FastMaint CMMS. If you are undecided or trying to decide whether having a computerized maintenance management system will help you, download our free “CMMS Software Selection Guide”. It has a variety of tips & suggestions that will help you identify the right product for your needs – all maintenance departments are not the same!
We hope you are able to implement 5S principles with the help of your maintenance program and see the benefits it brings. Many thanks to the folks at Creative Safety Supply who suggested many of the ideas how on 5S principles could be used with CMMS software. You can learn more about 5S on their 5S Study and Research Page. They also offer a variety of variety of workplace supplies & tools that you may find useful in your maintenance department.