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Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

5S: The Kaizen of SIP

July 18th, 2013 by Peggy Aycinena

We are all familiar with the 5S mantra for running a tightly choreographed manufacturing operation. It’s an intuitively pleasing and simplified set of rules for improving and maintaining physical plants, and can be targeted at everything from making cars to creating an effective commercial lab space. The ideas behind Sort, Straighten, Scrub, Standardize, and Sustain are closely linked to the writings of just-in-time efficiency expert Hiroyuki Hirano, and are also often associated with the term Kaizen.

Taking into consideration the admirable characteristics of Kaizen, is it possible to contemplate a 5S program for using semiconductor IP in a lean and efficient way? Although any number of S’s might fill the bill, let’s consider Seek, Sort, Satisfy, Stitch, and Sell as one such assembly of terms that could guide the IP user.

Seek out potential IP blocks through various channels: catalogs, online searches, word of mouth, even rumor. Sort the options that filter to the top of the list, ranking them from most to least likely to succeed; only the most worthy should progress along. Satisfy yourself and others on the team that the characteristics of the best candidate blocks are appropriate, and that the quality of the IP can be vouched for by previous users and through testing the block in a simulated environment that reflects the ultimate system surround. Having selected the best candidate block, stitch it into place within the larger design using as many standardized wrappers as possible. Finally, sell the end product and celebrate the faster process and better quality that result from IP use and reuse.

Now how about a 5S program for developing semiconductor IP in a lean and efficient way? Perhaps Sample, Select, Stabilize, Shrink-wrap, and Support would fill the bill.

Sample the market and find out if something you’ve developed as a one-off solution for a particular customer might be useful to a larger audience. Select a version of the block that seems to strike the right balance between unique and universal appeal. Stabilize the block through a reasonable amount of testing, and an appropriate amount of documentation. Shrink-wrap the block for distribution. Support the block thoroughly from beginning to end, all from way from initial customer contact to final evaluation, from integration through to deployment, every time for every customer.

It’s that easy: Sample, Select, Stabilize, Shrink-wrap, and Support lead to Seek, Sort, Satisfy, Stitch, and Sell.

Could it be any more Simple, Safe, Sane, Secure, or Salutary?

For further inspiration …

5 Pillars of the Visual Workplace: The Sourcebook for 5S Implementation

by Hiroyuki Hirano (1995)


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One Response to “5S: The Kaizen of SIP”

  1. David White says:

    Great article! Cool ideas all the way through. Your other article this month was excellent. You bring life and excitement to this otherwise nerdy field.

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