5S and the Engineering of Waste Reduction


The 5-S philosophy is associated with lean thinking. The objective of lean thinking is to provide a business with long-term profitability by developing a more effective workplace, which is accomplished by eliminating waste in the work environment. The result is a safer workplace, improved product quality, and lower costs for both the business and its customers.

 Lean thinking may result in a reduction in work force, but that is not its purpose. In fact, the application of lean thinking for the purpose of reducing the work force is not lean thinking at all. Since some companies have done this, lean thinking has been given a bad reputation and has made waste reduction efforts more difficult.

Six Sigma Process Improvement

Process improvement is the act of increasing the value of a process’s output in the eyes of its customers. 

 Putting this into a business perspective, we can view a business as a collection of processes that focus upon providing an output that its customer’s are willing to pay for. Therefore, the objective of a business process is to add value to a collection of inputs, from a customer perspective, to produce a profit to the business.  Consider the following, simplified, value equation.

 Profit = Perceived Value – Inherent Value