5s Cleaning DFW Airport
5s Cleaning DFW Airport

“5S” Cleaning Method Delivers Long-Term Results

Categories: Aviation, Dallas, Library


For over 20 years, Flagship has partnered with American Airlines, cleaning its facilities at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW), which is one of the busiest airports in the world. The American Airlines hubs at DFW serve more than 70,000 passengers and 4,500 employees per day, and while travelers and employees are rushing to and from flights, the Flagship team stays busy cleaning more than 6 million square feet of interior and exterior space.

With so much space to cover and large teams of front-line employees working on three shifts 24 hours a day, Flagship was quick to implement a methodical cleaning and organization system to bring order and efficiency to a potentially chaotic, trash-driven location.

The Challenge

One of the biggest problems Flagship had at DFW was a large accumulation of garbage on the ramps, including luggage tags, trash collected from airplanes and lunch containers left behind by airline employees. Miscellaneous trash cans of different sizes were scattered around the ramp areas, and if people couldn’t find a trash can, they left their garbage on the ground.

The Solution

Turning to a trusted organization system, Flagship’s operations team implemented the 5S Method, a visual system that logically organizes workspaces and removes unnecessary items in order to standardize processes and efficiency.

The 5 Phases of 5S

  1. Sort: Inventory all items, tools and equipment in a location and remove all unnecessary ones.
  2. Set in Order: Put all necessary items in the optimal place for fulfilling their function in the workplace.
  3. Shine: Clean and inspect the workplace, tools and machinery on a regular basis.
  4. Standardize: Ensure uniformity in all the processes used to sort, order and clean the workplace.
  5. Sustain: Enable workers to develop good habits so they can maintain these processes without being told to do so by their supervisors.

The Outcomes Flagship Drives

With proper quantities of equipment in designated spaces, front-line employees understood where trash cans should be, and supervisors could reinforce these practices by walking through the ramp areas making sure everything was in its designated spot.

This resulted in neater ramps and less time spent on picking-up trash, making room for other 5S-based improvement projects to janitorial closets and wall mounted chemical dispensers throughout the American Airlines facilities.

“Since the team has been applying 5S principles to our work areas at DFW Airport, we’ve seen increased productivity and client satisfaction. We’re applying 5S principles to our critical work areas on a regular basis now,” said Stephen McCoy/Flagship DFW Project Manager.

Outside of DFW, the 5S Method can be applied to janitorial services at many large facilities, and can help janitorial teams achieve significant improvements in many areas, including:

  1. EFFICIENCY: logical visual organization makes cleaning tools, supplies and equipment more easily accessible; the time saved can be applied to cleaning tasks.
  2. SAFETY: A clean and orderly work area eliminates slip and fall and tripping hazards for both front-line staff and facility users.
  3. LESS SPACE REQUIRED: 5S eliminates unneeded tools and equipment so that precious storage space can be used more efficiently.
  4. STANDARDIZATION: 5S is a visual system that makes it easier for all team members to spot non-standard conditions and quickly correct them.
  5. LONG-TERM COST EFFICIENCY: When properly implemented, 5S can extend the lifecycle of cleaning equipment, controlling the cost of cleaning and potentially resulting in better indoor air quality.
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