When organizational systems like 5S are reinforced with visual cues, companies benefit from improved quality, production, safety, and employee satisfaction. The 5S system has five steps: Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain, which can become second nature with consistent practice. Read on to see how floor signs and tape in industrial, commercial, or municipal environments remind employees of the steps and help you achieve these five benefits from 5S:
1. Higher Quality Work
Consistent, quality work and satisfied customers are benefits of 5S in warehouses. Standardizing and organizing inventory bins can help improve accuracy and reduce incorrect counts or SKUs. Streamline packing stations and keep them cleared of miscellaneous items so staff more easily notice miscounted products and quality issues. Consistently removing defective equipment and tools should from work areas helps make sure production quality remains high. Regular cleaning reduces opportunities for contamination and helps reset work areas for each shift.
Use floor tape to outline holding areas for equipment that needs maintenance, extra tools, and misplaced items. This system lets employees focus on production rather than rehoming errant objects or troubleshooting machinery.
2. More Efficient Production
Backtracking while transporting goods and excess handling reduce efficiency. The benefits of implementing Lean and 5S methodologies include eliminating unproductive actions and streamlining workflows to reduce waste. Sorting helps remove needless equipment and tools, and standardizing traffic and other processes keeps everyone working safely, with fewer bottlenecks in aisles and work areas.
Examine your internal processes, from assembly to order fulfillment and inventory management, to identify areas where:
- Unnecessary supplies or tools get in the way
- Unclear processes lead to inefficiencies and mistakes
- Over-handling results in higher production costs
- Poor communication causes near-misses or accidents
Then, use 5S visual cues to:
- Organize your system and reinforce your process requirements with floor signs and tape.
- Label supply staging locations, equipment storage, and manufacturing lines to ensure everything remains in its appropriate place.
- Use arrows, dashed lines, and dots to create navigation lanes and designate efficient, time-saving routes.
3. Improved Safety Measures
Warehouses and factories can use 5S to reach safety goals. When everything is clean and orderly, items that are out of place and pose a tripping risk are more noticeable and may be avoided. And, when Shine is part of your daily practice, frequently cleaning up spills, sawdust, and debris helps prevent slippery surfaces to improve facility safety.
Floor signs can be applied to label storage for mop buckets, ladders, and forklift parking, improving clean-up autonomy by ensuring the required storage area is easy to identify. Define staging areas for broken tools or red-tagged items with floor tape, corralling dangerous items in a clearly marked space so they aren’t accidentally used. Pre-cut floor marking kits are sized perfectly to mark first aid, fire extinguishers, and eyewash stations to keep equipment and treatment locations visible and accessible while following OSHA’s requirements.
4. Engaged, Committed Employees
5S is a company-wide initiative that needs everyone’s buy-in to be successful. Get staff involved early and ask for feedback and ideas. All employees, regardless of department, can participate with active roles in sorting inventory and supplies and cleaning workstations. Through participation in efforts to improve the work environment experience, employees often report better job satisfaction—and they are more likely to sustain protocols in the longterm.
Provide reminders of each step in the 5S method using visual cues to keep these practices top-of-mind. For location-specific tasks or storage requirements, create custom signs to remind employees of the requirements, for better compliance.
5. Opportunities for Better Staff Training
Benefits of 5S in the workplace include accelerated employee onboarding and cross-training—and continuous improvement methods mean these processes can be improved as weak spots are determined. Additionally, when processes are standardized and clearly marked, staff members can provide coverage more effectively when workloads increase. Consistency reduces training time so new hires may learn the process steps, navigational cues, and labeling systems in one area and understand them throughout the facility.
Our floor signs and tape are ideal for training purposes because they share clear, specific messages and graphics that are easy to recognize at a glance. Since our visual cues peel up without leaving residue behind, floor markers may be removed and replaced as procedures are updated.
5S Benefits in Non-Industrial Workplaces
While 5S methods are most often tailored to factories and warehouses, non-manufacturing industries can use the core concepts of Sort, Set in Order, Shine, and Standardize to their advantage. Healthcare facilities with rotating nurses and floating staff benefit from uniformity in their processes. Organization is easier to maintain when everything has clearly labeled a place.
Retail environments, like department stores and supermarkets, can benefit from 5S systems, as well: An organized inventory receipt area provides visibility to shipment statuses; properly marked staging areas for returns and expired goods prevent errors and mishandling; assigning storage for dollies and pallet jacks ensures anyone on any shift can find the tools they need; and congestion can be reduced in customer-facing areas with directional cues and arrows that streamline traffic.
Auto-body shops, lawn care businesses, and HVAC repair companies can implement 5S for efficiency improvements. Sorting and standardizing storage shelves makes inventory levels more obvious for quick reordering, and finding tools and specific parts is faster when everything has an assigned location. Setting up a fleet of contractor trucks with the Standardize step in mind allows employees to work out of any vehicle efficiently.
Once you understand how to remove waste from your processes, you can put 5S methods to work sorting, setting in order, shining, and standardizing to achieve better productivity, improved safety, and increased job satisfaction. Using visual cues, like our durable floor markers, signs, and tape provides lasting reminders to make these practices stick. For more 5S and Lean information, visit our Resource Center.