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Seiso (aka. Scrub)

April 30, 2010

I visited a manufacturing facility today.  Everything I have talked about in my previous blogs regarding the need for 5S to improve productivity could not be further from the truth.  During my walk around the shop floor with the management, I commented on the need to for better housekeeping.  More importantly, the need for 5S.  One of the questions I asked the owner was “How much time do your employees spend looking for things throughout the day?”  The owner did not realize that the time spent searching for items was unproductive to his productivity and that it was costing him gains on his profit margins.

The third of the 5S’ is Seiso (aka. Scrub).  Once we have sorted and set-in order items we use in the workplace, the next step is to clean the workplace.  Now most people think that scrubbing means painting and forgetting about it.  But the real purpose of scrubbing is to make the equipment or item to look like new.  Equipment that is clean runs better and lasts longer between breakdowns.  Equipment that is clean and made to look like new makes it easier to identify when something goes wrong.  If an oil leak, water leak, air leak, etc. occurs, it makes it that much more easier to spot the issue.  Imagine a 1200T press covered in oil because it has never been cleaned.  When an oil leak on that press occurs, how will the operator be able to identify the oil leak?  My personal preference is to have equipment painted white, including floors (where it’s possible).  This makes it easy for the employees to identify issue with the equipment.  Oil leaks on a white floor also makes it easier to identify potential equipment issues.  As with each of the 5s’, Seiso must be maintained every day and every shift.

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