5S Success

More often than not the 5S method is implemented into an organization for the purpose of laying a foundation towards future lean methods. 5S is one of the most basic lean methods to implement, but it’s also one of the most important to have concreted into your habits before you can master other lean methods. The problem with looking ahead before you have one method in place is you begin to pile bad habit on top of bad habits with no real results in the end. You have to have 5S success before you can move on in the lean world.

5S Success PosterIt’s like having a wide-open receiver in football who takes his eye off the pass as it spirals toward him to look at the field ahead. The catch is dropped and the crowd is deprived what would have surely been a wonderful touchdown dance –don’t be that guy!

Not many will argue that increasing productivity and improving efficiency are a bad thing in business. Which is why we see 5S visual workplace methods spread across many organizations. Whether it’s manufacturing or office work, the structure is still the same in order to receive 5S success.

5S Success

Consider the following when reaching for 5S success in your organization:

  • It All Starts With a Plan! Your implementation team must devise a plan that is easily understood and within the companies abilities to accomplish.
  • Good Leadership- If the top of the food chain isn’t on board expect nothing less from the rest.
  • A Committed Staff- No lean method enjoys success without a fully engaged staff.
  • Good Examples- Having a few key focus areas for employees to visually compare are important for them to be able to gauge their own 5S success.
  • Nothing is Off Limits- 5S was originally designed for manufacturing floors, but it has proven to be an effective tool anywhere in the workplace.
  • Make it Known- Floor marking tape is an inexpensive and low maintenance tool for supporting 5S implementation.
  • Accountability- Everyone needs to be accountable for their areas.
  • Use Evaluations to Improve- Weekly audits with 5S Team Leaders are a great way to gauge 5S success, don’t forget to post scores!
  • Celebrate Progress- Don’t let a good job go unnoticed, take the time to celebrate and point out employees/areas that are enjoying 5S success.

Knowing is Half the Battle

Understanding the keys to success are important, but your actions are even more important. The power of knowledge is meaningless unless you actually apply it towards your actions and routines. Repeated behavior over time, eventually becomes habitual. Which means it takes less energy to complete more work –efficiency!

Free 5S guide and poster
Free 5S guide and poster

Remember that your actions will always speak louder than your words. Your colleagues are generally only willing to work as hard or repeat actions that seem necessary to complete the job. Setting the right example is the best way to get others to see the benefits of an embedded 5S mentality.

When your 5S visual workplace is in full operational mode and your team is 100% committed, the possibilities are endless. Initially, you will see a significant reduction in waste, motion, wait times, all while solidifying the foundation you need for the implementation of flow production, visual management and standardized operations.



Additional Resources