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The Power of 5S

How one of Britain’s leading furniture manufacturers is optimising productivity and creating a quality work environment

In today’s competitive business landscape, efficiency and productivity are crucial for any company’s success. One proven methodology that has significantly improved workplace organisation, reduced waste, and optimised productivity is the 5S system – and it is proving to be a massive success for David Bailey Furniture Systems Ltd, one of the country’s leading suppliers of fitted furniture to the NHS, education and veterinary sector.

The company has always maintained the highest possible levels of health and safety, cleanliness and maintenance, but the introduction of 5S has taken these things and more to new levels.

Originally developed in Japan, the 5S philosophy has gained widespread recognition and application in various industries worldwide. It is a system of workplace organisation and management that focuses on creating a clean, uncluttered, safe, and well-organised environment.

The five elements of 5S are “Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardise, and Sustain” and as you delve deeper into each of these components and their relevance, it is easier to understand why they work so well for companies such as David Bailey Furniture:

The first element – ‘Sort’ involves separating necessary items from unnecessary ones, eliminating clutter, and keeping only the essential items within the workspace. By applying this principle, David Bailey Furniture has decluttered its work areas, storage spaces, and manufacturing facilities. This ensures that employees have easy access to the tools and materials they need, reducing time wasted searching for items and enhancing overall efficiency.

The second step, ‘Set in Order’, emphasises arranging items in a logical and ergonomic manner. This involves creating designated storage spaces, labelling containers, and establishing a visual system that allows employees to quickly locate items. By implementing this step, the company has improved its inventory management, reduced the chances of errors and enhanced overall workplace safety.

The ‘Shine’ phase focuses on cleanliness and regular maintenance of the workspace. By regularly cleaning and maintaining work areas and equipment, the company has prevented the build-up of dust, debris, and potential hazards. A clean and well-maintained environment has contributed to employee morale and to the longevity and performance of essential plant and equipment.

The ‘Standardisation’ focus ensures that the processes and procedures established during the previous steps become consistent practices throughout the organisation. This has involved developing new standard operating procedures, checklists, and guidelines for maintaining the 5S system. By standardising the practices, David Bailey Furniture has ensured that the benefits of 5S are sustained over time and integrated into the company’s culture.

The final step, ‘Sustain’, involves continuously reinforcing and improving the 5S system. It has required ongoing training, employee engagement, and regular audits to ensure compliance and to identify areas for further action. Sustaining the 5S philosophy at David Bailey Furniture has helped to foster a culture of continuous improvement, leading to long-term success.

Implementing the 5S methodology has offered numerous benefits to David Bailey Furniture, positively impacting both employees and customers. By eliminating waste, reducing clutter, and improving workplace organization, 5S has helped to streamline processes and boost productivity. Employees can easily find tools and materials, reducing time spent on searching and enhancing overall efficiency.

A cleaner and well-organised workplace has helped to minimise potential hazards, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries. By implementing 5S, David Bailey Furniture has further prioritised employee safety and created a better work environment that promotes well-being.

5S emphasises the importance of maintaining equipment, tools, and work areas. Regular cleaning and maintenance have contributed to better product quality, as well as improved customer satisfaction.

As already mentioned, the company has always maintained a clean, well-organised and visually appealing workplace and this continues to have a positive impact on employee morale. 5S has encouraged employees to take ownership of their workspaces, fostering a sense of pride and engagement.

The company has always been aware of the crucial nature of positive customer impressions. A well-maintained and organised workspace reflects professionalism and attention to detail, instilling confidence in the company’s products and services and this has helped their business grow still further.

All of these things have always been second nature to David Bailey Furniture but the 5S methodology has offered a comprehensive approach to workplace organisation and optimisation, with significant benefits.

By implementing the 5S philosophy, the company has reduced waste, enhanced productivity, improved safety and created a positive work environment. Through continuous reinforcement and employee engagement, the company now intends to sustain the benefits of 5S, fostering a culture of efficiency and quality that will contribute to its long-term success.