1S – Simplify

Tim Akerman
Categories:   Lean  

We are going to run through each of the steps of 5S identifying the critical activities that enable the process. The first S of 5S is


Simplify is about removing all that is unnecessary from the area. If each of us considers the area we work in, how much of what is around us is really needed, here and now?

The first step in 1S is to take photographs of the area as it it. Don’t try to tidy up, just record how it is. Take careful note of the position you took the photos from, since you will be taking after photos from the same location. The next step is to ensure that everyone involved in the process is safe. Identify the risks in the process and ensure everyone involved also understands the risks. Provide training and equipment to all staff and ensure that waste disposal routes are appropriate for the type of waste.

We need to understand what should be at our work station. The first step in deciding what should be at your work station is to decide what happens at your work station and write it down. This should be done by the people who work in the area; once there is a written description of the activities that happen at your work station, it is possible to determine what tools, equipment, jigs, materials, and other items are necessary

At this point carry out a red tag event. The people who work in the area should use the information about what happens in the area and the tools and materials needed to carry out the work. Everything else should be red-tagged and moved to the red tag storage area. Items that have been moved to the red tag storage area should only be stored for a limited time. Typically items are moved into the area within one week and disposed of after four weeks. Managers and heads of department should review the items in the red tag area on a weekly basis to identify items that would be expensive or impractical to replace, items that can be used effectively elsewhere and items that can be disposed of. It is always good practice to check not only if an item is needed, but also how many are needed.

Finally don’t think of 1S as a one-off event. It will need to be repeated every 3 to 6 months because items will be brought back to the area and not returned to storage and over time the usage of the area could change.