5S is a quality control technique of Lean that can improve productivity and reduce waste in a multitude of industries. The 5S technique was created in Japan and involves five Japanese words such as Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke. Seiri means separating the good and necessary tools and instructions from the useless ones to remove the latter. Seiton means arranging tools and instructions in such a manner that they are easy to use and find whenever they are needed. Seiso stands for clean-up campaigns, and Seiketsu stands for daily repetition of the three previous S’ to improve the workplace. Shitsuke resembles the creation of a culture in which all the other S’ are performed permanently with precision. Lean 5S principles can apply to the retail industry and improve the business.
The first principle of Lean 5S that can be applied to the retail industry is Seiri, or Sort as it translates to in English. The retail application of this principle to both merchandise and fixtures, and involves sorting out items and tools that are useful from the tools that are not. In this way, a company can eliminate the useless items and keep their storages and work areas clean. The useless or not essential tools can be kept temporarily in other rooms until they need to be used.
The second principle involves the creation of a storage area where needed items can stay. Retails should determine the perfect location for each tool so that it can be reached easily when it is required. Retails can tag or paint each tool and put them near others that do similar jobs or processes.
Cleaning is an important aspect of maintaining a retail store. It is an activity that forms the first impression to customers and clean places attract more customers. Systematic cleaning also means taking good care of the tools and equipment that are used. Cleaning should be done every day and to make the place shine the tools or equipment that are not working should be immediately repaired or replaced so that nothing remains obsolete.
Standardizing means analyzing the processes and activities at the business to identify which work properly and increase productivity. This can help retails remove the processes and practices that no longer suit them and do not enhance the services provided. Retails can involve in this process all the participants at the firm as everyone can contribute toward creating better standard practices. Also, by collaborating with people that actually perform these tasks, firms can pinpoint easier what is working and what is not. One strategy that can be implemented to identify the working tasks is to make daily checklists to see if the requirements are being met.
The final principle of Lean 5S involves checking if the other processes work properly, and repairing or replacing them if not. Lean 5S can help retails improve their business and productivity which results in increased revenues and more customers.
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