Creation and implementation of a lean improvement process (6S) designed to improve pharmacy work space organization and standardization

Elizabeth Paschka, Suzanne Salutric, Raoof Abdellatif


Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) is an 894-bed academic medical center hospital in Chicago that is the primary teaching affiliate for the Feinberg School of Medicine and has nearly 1,900 affiliated physicians representing virtually every medical specialty. The central pharmacy at NMH underwent a 6S initiative in order to improve the workplace. 6S is a lean improvement process designed to improve work space organization and standardization. A Project 6S team was assembled to coordinate implementation and maximize efficiency throughout the project. The following discusses the steps followed and projects completed in order to apply the 6S methodology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. 6S is a lean improvement process designed to improve work space organization and standardization. A lean process is a system for continuous advancement and was originally a management philosophy developed by the Toyota Production System. 5S organization method that is derived from five Japanese words that describe how to organize a workplace for efficiency and effectiveness. The 5S’s are sort, straighten, scrub, standardize, and sustain. 6S is a modification of the 5S’s, but adds safety as the sixth S. Overall, 6S is a process for creating and maintaining an organized, clean, high performance workplace. It promotes activities of continuous improvement in an organization.


lean improvement;5S;6S;pharmacy work space;standardization

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