by Engr. Ulyses L. Ricaplaza

During Atlas Fertilizer Corporation’s 55th year anniversary celebration on October 10, 2012, the 5S program was officially launched and bannered with the theme “AFC Embracing 5S”.

5S is a workplace management where the work area and workplace are organized and visualized to minimize the loss of time and the use of movement. This is one of the tools in Lean Management philosophy; its principles for eliminating wasted time and unnecessary motion are universally proven and tested by every growing and successful company.
5S is much more than ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’. 5S comprises five principles to make people highly efficient and effective in doing their work.
1. Sort: Keep near you only what you regularly use.
2. Straighten: Find exactly what you need to use in less than 30 seconds.
3. Shine: Have your workplace and equipment ready for immediate use.
4. Standardize: Everyone does each job in the same way and is challenged to improve it.
5. Sustain: Everyone does his part to foster a safe, efficient and effective workplace.
5S has LITTLE to do with creating a clean and tidy work area where everything is neat, nearby, and easy and fast to get to. That is indeed what we see when we have a great 5S workplace, but that is NOT what 5S is for. 5S is there to help us do masterly work. Its purpose is to HELP people do perfect work every time.

5S is really about:
• Preventing mistakes that ruin a job and makes scrap and rework
• Making sure equipment is reliable and works properly to make a perfect item every time
• Removing and preventing useless variation in work activities and machine performance
• Delivering exact quality products and service ever more quickly
• Keeping people and plant safe from hazards and harm

We believe that embracing 5S is the key to sustaining growth and improvements in our organization especially that our company has existed for more than 50 years now. We want to achieve vital performance benefits efficiently and effectively, and reduce waste in all our resources at hand. But prior to achieving the benefits, we just need to Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize and Sustain in order to create the right workplace situation that will deliver the competitive performance we want.
As with any improvement effort, implementation of the 5S must be driven from the top of the organization. The program is spearheaded by our 5S/TPM Program Champion, Mr. Jose Miguel C. Abad, in collaboration with our IBM-UNION President, Mr. Godofredo O. Villacencio, and guidance from our Lean Champion, Mr. Ian A. Felicilda. With this, the program is given a good head start; giving it the visibility and importance it needs for long term viability and for everyone to embrace positive CHANGE.
The Pilot Models. Maintenance Engineering and General Services (MEGS) and Production departments were selected to be the pilot areas for the implementation of 5S program. The outcome of this pilot project will be eventually used and applied as standard norms for company-wide 5S implementation.

5s3       5s2


“Run for 5S” was a 5.5-kilometer fun run exclusive for AFC employees. This event was part of the 5S Program awareness campaign. It was initiated to encourage each employee to take a step and be one with the commitment to embrace CHANGE. The race started from Barba Complex off to Talavera, Toledo City. Around 123 runners participated including our former CEO Mr. Shinya Kajita, and our very supportive COO Mr. Raymund P. Ilustre, who really took the race up to the finish line.


The “Run For 5S” participants at the starting line, together with our former CEO, Mr. Shinya Kajita, and our President/COO, Mr Raymund P. Ilustre


We want to educate our people that 5S is not only about workplace management and cleanliness. We would like to teach them that through their personal workplace practices they set themselves up to do great work.  Thus, lead coordinators conducted 5S orientation among Supervisors and Operators for them to be informed and be familiar about 5S tenets. The five pillars of 5S were introduced and discussed; their importance and significance in all facets of our operations.

Although there is no technological marvel to instantly change the ingrained habits of each employee and adapt 5S tenets, we believe that individual’s sound involvement would positively contribute to the success of this valuable program.

From a Kaizen perspective, we ask people to embrace change for the better, not just for the sake of change. We also believe that small, steady steps are much easier to sustain than giant leaps. However if everyone in the organization practices continuous improvement a lot of small changes will soon add up!

How we react to change today, is in large part, a measure of how we will fare tomorrow.



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