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Lean manufacturing: what it means for heeco customers

By 25th February 2016 News No Comments

As we have reported, heeco is currently implementing a Lean Manufacturing training and improvement programme across its entire business.

From top to bottom across our business, we are aiming to improve all business operations through the Lean Manufacturing programme.

Although operating efficiently is one of the core aims, it’s also about operating more quickly, with the utmost attention to quality and consistency. We believe this isn’t just good news for heeco, it’s good news for our customers, too.

Everything about Lean manufacturing relates back to providing the best possible service for our customers.

What is Lean?

There are a number of different Lean Manufacturing systems, which are essentially different ways of implementing the same core principles.

At heeco, we are implementing the 5S lean manufacturing system. 5S is the application of a number of principles that originated at the Toyota Manufacturing Group in Japan, and which have been adopted as best practice by major manufacturers globally.

5S relates to the five core steps involved – in its original Japanese, each S stands for Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke.

Translations for these are varied, but are usually summarised as follows:

Seiri: Sort

This is the first step and relates to sorting out clutter, and removing anything from the work area that does not need to be there. If an item does not contribute to the manufacturing process, then it is removed.

Seiton: Straighten

Once the clutter has been removed, ‘straighten’ refers to ensuring that whatever remains isarranged in an efficient manner, according to ergonomic principles. In short, everything has its place, and everything is in its place.

Seiso: Sweep (or shine)

Sweep is cleaning everything thoroughly, bringing everything to an ‘as-new’ status. This means anything that does not conform, such as an oil leak or other malfunction, stands out and can easily be rectified. It also makes any issues easier to identify and eradicate as they develop.

Seiketsu: Standardise

This stage is almost a review of the first three stages, making sure that they become standard practice. Standard work is a key function and aim of Lean – it helps to deliver consistency and efficiency.

Shitsuke: Sustain

Sustain means to ensure that everyone in the company is signed up to the principles of 5S, and that the company as a whole continues to seek continuous improvement against the core principles of 5S. 5S should become part of the culture at the company – passed on and remaining constant even as personnel change with time.


At heeco, we are keen to reinforce our credentials as one of the UK’s leading providers of electronic control systems to a range of industry sectors, and we are confident that our 5S Lean Manufacturing programme will help us achieve our aim of continuous improvement.

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