5S is an effective method of creating a clean, structured and safe workplace environment for any company. Remco’s Education and Support Manager Amit Kheradia explains the relevance of Sort, Set-in-order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain elements and how they can support food safety and sanitation by helping prevent cross-contamination incidents in a food facility.

1 Why is 5S such a good fit for a food production facility?

Sustainable organizations strive to continuously improve their operational efficiency by minimizing waste and creating value for their customers. A food business, as a typical lean enterprise, is no exception — it wants to optimize its processes and also meet food safety system compliance requirements. 5S, as a workplace organization method, is one way to start improving sustainability.

2 How can 5S promote an organization’s food safety objectives?

Over 80% of food safety issues in a facility are generally associated with poor GMPs. Good Manufacturing Practices are related to: personnel; plants and grounds; sanitary operations; facilities and controls; equipment and utensils; process controls; warehousing and distribution; holding and distribution of by-products. These food safety related-activities can be supported by one or more of the 5S elements.

3 Who is responsible for implementing a site’s 5S program?

5S requires the company-wide integration of work processes and the participation of all employees. Normally, a 5S improvement team is formed, along with a leader who facilitates the program. The facility can be divided into manageable zones with employees trained and provided with clear visual expectations of each zone, preferably using color-coding strategies. These may cover the building, equipment, tools, processes and activities, and even the people traffic in an area.

4 What are some potential challenges faced when implementing 5S?

The biggest concern is that any well designed 5S initiative can fall flat without the right management and employee commitment. Moreover, setting the 5S scope is as important by asking whether we want to achieve only food safety objectives, or also other operational efficiency and safety goals. All employees need to be educated, trained, and refreshed regularly on 5S.

5 In which ways can Remco assist food facilities in their 5S food safety efforts?

Remco provides not just the products to support 5S, but also the recommendations on selecting, storing, cleaning, and the care and maintenance of sanitation and material handling tools, which also facilitates 5S improvements. For instance, our total-color tools provide that visual cue that assists in Sorting, and tools can also be Set-in-Order within their respective storage stations using wall brackets or shadow boards. Our varied bristled brushes and brooms efficiently work in the Shining process. Moreover, our UST brushes, Ultra Hygiene squeegees and hygienically designed scoops are superior, easily cleanable, and durable high-quality products. Additionally, our unique Vikan Hygienic Zone planner offers a Standardized and Sustainable solution that helps in effectively controlling allergen cross-contact and bacterial or foreign cross-contamination incidences within a food facility.