The Most Important Cog in the Machine: Business Analysis and 5S Implementation in an Engineering Company

Matthew Worthington, Margarita Georgieva, Andrew Heaton, Abdelrahman Abdelazim


The focus of this paper is the 5S process, incorporating a real working example of how this method can positively affect a business in terms of managing change and continuous improvement. The benefits that 5S implementation can bring to a manufacturing business focus on every-day work with a holistic approach that intends to bring order both in the material environment and in the ethical values that support it. There are many factors that should be addressed when introducing 5S into a company, including some less tangible ones like moral and ethical principles, environmental factors, sustainability, and risk management. The backgrounds of the project featured in this work is in the field of nuclear waste management. The development of 5S practices are significant to this field because the methodology is known to increase safety and improve overall performance. However, it is also important to analyse what other aspects 5S could impact in an engineering company in this business.This work will therefore investigate the wider aspects of engineering management practice before delving into more specific questions on manufacturing process improvement with a particular focus on the impact 5S will have on workshop organisation and changing operator and technician culture. This will include a discussion of an industry relevant project and how 5S has impacted it. The project in question is entitled Soffit Plate Project and is a batch production project where a quantity of 282 Soffit plates are assembled with over 100 components in each plate. In total there are thousands of components that need to be managed throughout the contract with added paperwork and manufacturing process management as required. The work evidences that a normal approach would not be sufficient or sustainable for profitability and that 5S should be implemented from the beginning. The discussion focuses on the implementation of 5S and its effect on engineering business management.

Keywords: 5S, introducing lean, lean manufacturing, process improvement, kaizen, SWOT, McKinsey 7S

DOI: 10.7176/IEL/11-2-04

Publication date:June 30th 2021

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ISSN (Paper)2224-6096 ISSN (Online)2225-0581

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