What is 6S Lean?:  Putting ‘Safety’ in Your 5S Processes

The concept of 6S lean management comes from the Toyota Production System between the years 1948 and 1975. The concept has enabled the automaker to produce higher quality products faster with less waste and inventory than the competitors.
While the principles of 6S management were outlined decades ago, the benefits of incorporating the methodology persist even in today’s conditions.
So, what are the core principles of the 6S in manufacturing?

What is 6S: 5S + Safety?

The 6S system is a system to help improve productivity and safety. It helps with the 5S principle involving sorting, setting, shining, standardizing, and sustaining. The 6S also maintains the goal of ‘safety’ while implementing this tool.

The 6 Components and Their Importance

There are six components of the Lean methodology, and each is important for the overall system. Let us walk through each of the 6S.

1. Sort (Seiri)

Sorting is an important first step of the 6s methodology. And it aims to make it easier for a company’s workers to find, organize and get rid of unwanted items.

2. Set in order (Seiton)

In this stage of the 6 tactics in the 6s system, items designated as essential in the first stage are placed in logical locations and easily accessible. The objective of ‘Set in Order’ is an organized way to store and retrieve items so that the total space is maximized.

3. Shine (Seiso)

It is the third component and it focuses on cleaning your work area. A clean workspace not only looks better but can also help to improve morale and increase productivity. A regular cleaning schedule should be established and followed to maintain a safe and healthy work environment.

4. Standardize (Seiketsu)

The 4th 6s Method Stage is called ‘Standardize,’ and it aims to help people have the same work routines in their processes by developing more efficient habits. It can be done by providing visual reminders, setting expectations of workers’ responsibility, and conducting routine inspections and regular site checks.

5. Sustain (Shitsuke)

This is just one of the steps in a 6S process that ensures an effective plan is implemented and continues to be applied over a long period.

6. Safety

Safety is the final step added to the standard 5S methodology. Many companies have been using 6S to ensure that workers are kept safe during work and that the work environment meets safety requirements.

Why Include Safety in 6S?

Safety is most organizations’ top priority. A clean, safe working environment helps a lot of different things.
  • Ensuring a safe and healthy work environment is essential to productivity and quality.
  • By including safety in your Six Sigma process, you can create a positive impact on both areas.
  • Installing safety controls can be easy and help create a stress-free atmosphere.
  • Recognizing potential hazards is important for keeping your workplace safe.
Lean improvement professionals say safety is one reason that implementing Lean can make things safer. The extra attention given to safety through the five stages of 6s lean can help ensure that no hazardous items or conditions are overlooked after going through the process.
Safety can help the 6S system. Having Safety as part of the system can help an organization to
  • By taking safety seriously, organizations can avoid productivity losses and injuries.
  • Ensuring clean and accident-free work areas reduces the likelihood of adverse environmental effects.
  • Meeting or exceeding environmental performance goals can help to conserve resources.

6S Lean Requirements

The following are things you will need to implement the 6s lean in your workplace:
  • Recognize the importance of a thorough understanding of / experience with the 5sA system for identifying and reporting hazards.
  • Take safety awareness training relevant to your industry so that your workers are comfortable addressing potential hazards.
  • Make sure you have dedicated resources and support to ensure the successful implementation of 5s/6s.

Different Ways to Complete the Safety Step

The first step to safety is to identify hazards in the workplace. The hazards should be known by every employee and evaluated through risk assessments or Job Safety Analysis.

Workers must also wear personal protective equipment. They should use appropriate hard hats, safety goggles and gloves, slip-resistant boots, and more, depending on the work they’re doing. Workers should bring other safety protocols to their workplace through training and toolbox meetings.

Safe working conditions and job satisfaction enhance productivity. By implementing kaizen, and combining it with the 5S method, you will be able to improve workplace safety efficiently.

What is 6S Lean Software?

6s Lean Software makes it easy to carry out and document a 6s implementation. With 6s Lean Software such as Axonator, you can expect the following with consistency:
  • Increased efficiency.
  • Standardized operations.
  • Higher productivity.

Axonator for Implementing 6S

After working with thousands of manufacturing organizations, we’ve realized companies rely heavily on paper forms and checklists for managing safety operations.
However, this is no longer the only way to go. Most organizations can benefit significantly from digitizing their safety management landscape.

With the Axonator safety audit app, there is no need to search through mountains of paperwork to find the proper document or list. Everything is right at your fingertips, making it easy to start your safety audits quickly.

If you’re looking for a solution to digitize the safety audits, we have developed one app that can help.

Safety Audit App to Eliminate Risks

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