Improve Your 5S Shine Program – Clean to Inspect


The third S, in 5S, is commonly referred to as shine. A more accurate translation of the original Japanese word – seisou – is probably scrub or sweep. But shine does sound nicer. How can you improve your 5s shine program?

More to Shine Than Scrubbing

Most people completely miss what the shine program is all about. Many seem to think it’s all about sweeping up the dirt or perhaps scrubbing on hands and knees to scrub the floor. And, to some extent, it is. But it should be so much more.

Clean to Inspect

The proper approach when focusing on your 5S shine program is to not only thoroughly clean the area… it’s also to understand why it’s dirty in the first place.

In other words, we should clean to inspect. We should clean in such a way as to identify the source of the grime so we can eliminate it.

For example, if we’re cleaning oil off the floor we must find out why it got there. Simply cleaning it and not fixing the problem that created the spill or leak is pointless.

Improve your shine program

Custom shadow board with red a green cleaning tools.

Using color-coded cleaning equipment along with tool shadow boards is a great method for organizing your shop floor to improve your 5S Shine program.

(Our Custom Project Experts can help you easily design these boards and help you develop a color-coded program. Click here to contact us!)

What’s critical is to set up a standardized process for keeping that equipment clean and operating properly.

To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Make a list of all the equipment that needs to be “Shined” regularly.
  2. Once the equipment is cleaned take a picture thus showing the ideal state. Make sure to point out special points of concern to pay special attention too.
  3. Determine how often each piece of equipment should be cleaned and inspected.
  4. Assign someone to those tasks.
  5. Post a Shine schedule which shows frequency and whos responsible.
  6. Determine a method for communicating findings during the cleaning. For example, green opportunity tags.
  7. Hold people accountable to the schedule.

The same steps can be used for any area, including those without equipment.

Remember, the rationale behind Shine is to get the equipment to a point where any non-conformance such as an oil leak is clearly evident. If the machine is filthy, the problem will not be noticeable.

Make sure your Shine process is in place and providing the results you need. You’ll be glad you did.


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