5S has become one of the most precise processes for any organization that has adopted a lean methodology. It has been considered the foundation for lean concepts, while providing the stability for sustaining continuous improvement along the way. A key to sustaining 5S however, is combining 5S and the visual workplace concept together, to work hand in hand towards your lean vision and goals.
A Visual Workplace is Key to 5S
The primary objectives of 5S are clear: create a clean, orderly environment where everything has a place and is in its place, while exposing waste and establish a clear process to pursue all continuous improvement initiatives. Getting these objectives met consistently however, takes a little help and a few friendly reminders along the way.
We live in a world full of distractions that overcome our thought process and can alter even the most embedded rituals in our work day. Creating a visual workplace that emphasizes your objectives and puts critical information at the point of need is extremely important to overcoming these mental hiccups we often have.
Also called “visual management,” a visual workplace accomplishes its objectives by translating important information using visually stimulating materials. By using a holistic, whole-brain, and systematic approach organizations are able to keep their mission and values easily obtainable for anyone within sight.
Reasons for creating a visual workplace:
- Creates an environment that is continuously promoting employee’s commitment to the organization’s culture, mission and values.
- Presents key information through use of sensory messages that reinforce training, planning and anything the organization deems important.
- Addresses performance issues and keeps individuals on task with the overall mission and goals of the organization.
- Provides a mechanism for consistent communication and information throughout the organization.
By no means are visual aids and signs a replacement for training seminars or supervision. They are however, an extension of the training and supervision that adds to the overall success of the day-to-day processes.
Gwendolyn Galsworth is a well known visual expert and has been implementing visuality in the workplace for nearly 30 years in major organizations across the globe. She is a firm believer in the visual workplace as a means of sustaining the gains from lean and ensuring lean principles become a way of life in your organization.
A visual work place is a self-ordering, self-explaining, self regulating, and self-improving work environment where what is supposed to happen happens on time, every time
-Gwendolyn D. Galsworth, Ph.D.
Tools for a visual workplace:
- 5S posters
- Safety Posters
- 5S Red Tags
- Instructional Signage/Diagrams
- Tool Organizers/Foam Tool Organizers
- Floor Tape
- Floor Signs
- Label Systems
A visual workplace is a great tool for eliminating those simple questions that we know we know, yet sometimes hide in the shadows of the brain we just can’t seem to see through. Having a quick visual aid to help you through the process will improve productivity, efficiency, quality, customer satisfaction, safety, and much more.
The old saying “seeing is believing” holds a lot of truth in the lean progression. Being able to immediately see and then address problems, is a big part of a successful lean culture. Having a bunch of posters and signs around the building is not a sure path to success, but it is a step towards improving and sustaining your lean ideology.
- Creating a Visual Workplace– creativesafetysupply.com
- Embrace The Visual Workplace– floor-tape.com
- Utilizing Visual Communication with 5S– iecieeechallenge.org
- Starting A Visual Workplace, Pt. 1– creativesafetypublishing.com
- Visual Safety Begins with 5S– lean-news.com
- How to Establish 5S in the Workplace– blog.5stoday.com
- Visual Workplace – 5 Strategies that Work– blog.creativesafetysupply.com
- Floor Marking: A Valuable 5S Tool for the Workplace– realsafety.org
- Safety in the Workplace and 5S– hiplogic.com