Reduce Waste and Optimize Productivity

The Sorting 5S Lean Approach

Safety Rail Cart & Kit

Successful contractors are constantly evaluating how they perform work to identify cost-saving measures. Yet, 70% of construction projects are over budget and delivered late*. How is your bottom line stacking up at the close of a project?

Whether you are an architect, engineer, general contractor, or trade contractor adopting a lean approach can reduce waste and optimize productivity and ultimately improve operational results. But, you need to stop and continually evaluate your methods, talk with your teams and brainstorm where you can implement lean practices to get results.

Originally developed by the Japanese in the early 1900’s, the 5S methodology aims for systematic order and efficiency to improve the way work is performed in manufacturing and construction to eliminate wasted time, energy, and materials. 5S methodology is built on the idea that a well-organized and managed work-space yields efficient work, a quality product, and a safer work environment. Specifically, the 5S methodology refers to Sorting, Setting, Shining, Standardizing, and Sustaining.

Today we are going to discuss the first of the 5S Pillars – “Sorting” and apply this approach to construction.

What is the 5S Sorting Method?

Sorting is the act of eliminating unneeded items and obstacles on your job site.

Chaotic, cluttered workplaces can lead to inefficiency and chaos.

Sorting Setting Standardizing Shining Sustaining

How Can You Apply the Sorting 5S Method in Construction?

Look at your work environments and job sites and evaluate what is unnecessarily in the way of production.

Are there items that can be removed, moved to a central storage location, or discarded or recycled that are not needed for current operation?

Some refer to this step as “red-tagging” where you visually “tag” items for removal.

What are the Benefits of sorting in 5S?

  • creates organization and order.
  • reduces time looking for items.
  • simplifies inspection.
  • makes the best use of space.
  • eliminates obstacles that are hazards,
  • reduces opportunity for theft.

How Does Hilmerson Engineer to Support the 5S Sorting Method?

We know that simple storage and inventorying is critical, so we worked closely with expert equipment and yard managers in the construction industry to design “guardrail kit systems” that are simple, versatile, and practical.

Hilmerson’s versatile guardrail system “kits” are designed to unitize and contain all components within the system. Watch how easily and efficiently our product deploys on a job site:

3D Weighted Base Install

3D Anchored Base Install

“We purchased this product to use for the next 15 years or longer, and we are easily recouping our investment,” said Taylor Gunkel, Superintendent & Design Phase Manager at Mortenson. “I’ve never thrown away a piece of Hilmerson railing. It leaves the job in the same condition as it shows up. We just pick it up and store it on the cart. That’s very unique because every other piece of durable equipment on our job sites requires ongoing maintenance. Having the Hilmerson Safety Rail System™ in our inventory has definitely changed the way I plan and budget jobs.” 

Learn more about the Hilmerson Safety Rail System™

About Hilmerson Safety

Hilmerson Safety® is a full-service safety product design and manufacturing company serving the construction industry. Since 2001 Hilmerson Safety® has been working with construction industry leaders and contractors to develop safe, lean, construction-grade™ products and solutions that add to the company’s bottom line.

For more information email us or call (952) 239-0125