SEC is dedicated to prosperity through continuous improvement. One of the steps that SEC has taken up in the recent past is to implement 5S at all its project sites. SEC has identified a range of benefits from improved housekeeping. The most obvious benefit from this is, keeping items being organized in such a way (i.e. that they are always readily available) is that of improved productivity. Production workers being diverted from production to look for tools, gauges, production paperwork, fasteners and so on is the most frustrating form of lost time in any plant. A key aspect of SEC's organization approach is that the often needed items are stored in the most accessible location and correct adoption of the standardization approach means that they are returned to the correct location after use.
Another element of SEC's improved housekeeping is improved plant maintenance - workers 'owning' a piece of plant, responsible for keeping it clean and tidy, can take ownership for highlighting potential problems before they have an impact on performance.
The next aim is perhaps Quality. The degree of dirt in a manufacturing environment, obviously, varies with the nature of the product and its process but there are few, if any, areas where dirt is welcome. Even if it is only in the form of soild documentation accompanying the goods to the customer this can send a very negative message about the company and its culture. In other cases dirt can have a serious impact on product performance - either directly or indirectly, perhaps through compromising the integrity of test processes. Of course, 5S does more than address dirt; an appropriate layout can result, for example, in product demaged through excessive movement or through the use of tooling other than that defined as the standard. A standard operating procedure for tool certification is much easier to achieve if the tool to be certified is always in a clearly-marked location.
Another goal is improved Health & safety. Clear pathways between workbenches and storage racks can minimize accidents, as can properly-swept floors. As with Quality, a well organized, clean and tidy facility lends itself more readily to standard practice. SEC has also described how an environment in which the workforce has pride in their workplace can contribute to a considerable extent in a number of ways including cusotmer service. Improving the layout of the facility merges with the concept of visual management;if workers can see the status of plant and of work in the facility, thus removing the need for complex tracking and communication systems, then benefits will accrue.