Implementation of 5S in Project-Based Manufacturing Companies

5 July 2023

5S is a quality management technique expressed by five Japanese words. It is used to establish order in the workplace, increase productivity, and reduce error rates. The 5S methodology consists of the following five steps:

  • Seiri (Sort): Sorting and disposing of unnecessary items.
  • Seiton (Set in Order): Organizing items in a way that aligns with their intended purpose.
  • Seiso (Shine): Keeping the workplace clean.
  • Seiketsu (Standardize): Establishing and implementing standards.
  • Shitsuke (Sustain): Making these standards permanent through continuous improvement.

The implementation of 5S is crucial not only for every company but also for project-based manufacturing firms. Such companies often experience frequent changes, which can be challenging to manage. 5S enables easy management of these changes and helps maintain order in the workplace. As a result, employees can work more efficiently, and error rates decrease. Moreover, by reducing error rates, it enhances workplace safety and quality. Therefore, project-based manufacturing companies may find it beneficial to consider implementing 5S. However, there are also potential drawbacks related to specific characteristics of each implementation or improper practices.

Firstly, implementing 5S requires an investment in the workplace, and the cost of this investment can be substantial if incorrect practices are adopted. Additionally, for the establishment and sustainability of 5S, employees must fully comply with the system. However, ensuring full compliance can be challenging for everyone, which might impact the success of the implementation.

While organizing materials in the workplace in a structured manner reduces material loss, it also requires frequent stock checks, adding extra workload and time consumption. Standardization enables everyone in the workplace to perform the same tasks in the same way, but it might restrict employees’ creativity and initiative in performing their work.

When 5S is consciously applied, it positively contributes to the efficiency of every company. However, it needs to be planned and implemented correctly. Within the framework of 5S logic and interdisciplinary engineering approaches, the most robust capabilities include defining the current needs and problems, designing a concept, performing design verification, applying optimization practices, and prototyping. Special design solutions that fully meet the customer’s needs should be created by evaluating all customer requirements. Projects should prioritize details that confirm variables such as critical loads, deviations, movements, and strength requirements of components, raw materials, dimensions, and tolerances. Feasible engineering solutions should be developed, and the losses viewed from the perspective of waste in 5S should be prevented, presenting them to the customer.

Mechanical Design Stages

Preliminary Design

To complete the preliminary design with the 5S approach, the problem must be identified, requirements researched, concept models created, feasibility assessment conducted, and design requirements listed.

During the research phase, obtaining essential information, including possible problems, solutions, costs, and market requirements, is critical for engineers to gather the required data for their design work. During the problem definition and design requirements analysis, all design requirements for the engineering design process should be defined until the end of the project. This stage should include an assessment of the end users’ needs, system features, and functions.

The feasibility study for a project should support the decision-making process by analyzing and summarizing various alternatives or techniques for the project, narrowing down the options to include only the most relevant scenarios. This stage allows the engineering team to start building project schedules, plan resource requirements, and determine if the project is achievable and if the design can be produced within a specific budget.

The next step is to determine the conceptual stage for evaluating potential solutions using cost management, risk assessment, and conceptual design development techniques. These concepts should be defined under the desired design requirements and specifications. Design validation tools should be utilized to identify weaknesses in the design. If necessary, a collaborative team effort involving design and analysis engineers should assess the situation and make decisions regarding necessary solution recommendations.

Conceptual Design

Conceptual design is the initial step in the multifaceted process involved in producing a new product. Design solutions that can bring innovation and reduce product costs should be clarified at this stage. In this context, conceptual design is a crucial phase in the engineering design process that requires attention. Each project’s conceptual design process involves fundamental principles that should be considered based on the project’s capabilities.

Conceptual design holds great importance in original and innovative products. A design solution at this stage directly affects quality, cost, time, creativity, and innovation. The greatest contribution to the project’s innovative aspect is made during this stage. Therefore, incorporating creative solution-finding techniques is of utmost importance.

The innovation process begins with generating creative ideas that match needs or problems. The innovation aims to commercialize a highly innovative product or process and achieve high added value. In this stage, it is essential to support the project’s creativity level while also aligning with commercial functionality.

Design Validation Studies

Design validation can be considered as ensuring that the design meets the intended qualifications and criteria. ISO 9001:2015 is a document that organizations adapt and use for their design planning and validations. Multiple methods can be used during the validation stage. If there is an alternative calculation method available, it can provide additional results that can be compared with the data. Another method involves comparing the design with similar designs to obtain results. During validation, tests, experiments, and reverse engineering methods can be used. This stage requires reviewing the documents, reports, minutes, and specifications created during the design process.

The planning in the design validation stage should include general guidelines for mechanical design checks, verification of technical drawings, and checks for manufacturability and applicability of the design. The aim should be to meet the desired standards and customer satisfaction during this validation stage.

Technical Drawings

Great attention should be given to preparing technical drawing headers, line thicknesses, and font criteria. If the design includes an assembly structure, the sequence of assembly should be considered, and the order of connection elements should be determined.

The appropriate geometric tolerances, shape, and position tolerances, and surface roughness values for the parts to be manufactured should be specified, and technical drawings should be created by adding detailed notes on processes such as suitable coatings and paint for the materials. Technical drawings should include all information required for three-dimensional models to be used in production processes.

Assembly Documentation

Mechanical design/engineering teams prepare 2D and 3D content to bring together and present the designed products in detail for marketing purposes. The created documents should include necessary information to describe processes and procedures such as technical drawings of 3D engineering models, assembly instructions, product guides, installation instructions, service guides, training manuals, marketing brochures, and sales proposal kits. This improves the comprehensibility of projects and helps eliminate user errors that may occur during the installation phase through visualized details. When creating assembly documentation, work should be carried out under international standards and company standards.

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