The 5S Steering Committee

Implementing a 5S program into your organization’s structure and procedures is a positive step in your lean transformation. The initial implementation is a lot of work and takes skilled trainers to make the transition effective, but sustaining your 5S process can be just as challenging. This is where your 5S steering committee can make a big difference. The 5S steering committee is essentially the governing body of all 5S related activities in your organization, taking on the responsibility of the over-all planning, implementation and then sustaining the process for the long-haul.

5S Safety Poster The 5S steering committee
5S Safety Poster

The 5S Steering Committee

Membership of the 5S steering committee should be composed of representatives from all organization levels and most areas of the operation. This would include your continuous improvement leader and floor operators. This team should be able to make quick decisions in order to keep the 5S effort moving forward without delay.

Initially, the goal of the 5S steering committee will be to formulate a master implementation/action plan to ensure a successful introduction of 5S to the members of the organization. This is key, as we know now 5S or any lean method for that matter does not work without full participation from its members.

The most successful implementation plans have been a bottom-up approach rather than a top-down. Creating a committee that is diversified with members from different departments will help with this approach. Your committee should also have the ability to form a step-by-step guide for each S in the 5S’s, with clear and decisive language that assists in the process.

Keys to Sustaining

After your team as successfully implemented the 5S process into your organization the goal now is to sustain and continually improve upon it. The 5S steering committee responsible for the overall direction of the effort into the process which ultimately determines the success of your 5S. The committee’s roles are then to ensure they are getting active participation and contributions from each and every employee.

Some examples of ways to keep your 5S moving forward:

  • Create a code of conduct– This should be a document that spells out the standards of behavior expected of all employees with respect to 5S.
  • Have a dedicated 5S area– A small area where people on the work teams can get supplies, information and assistance with their 5S effort. This can be delegated to the 5S coordinator to ensure the area is stocked and easily accessible.
  • Create a 5S checklist– This is a list of specific items your committee has determined that need to be checked regularly within each area.
  • Committee meetings– Conduct steering committee meetings to determine the overall direction and the effort being put forth by the staff. Use this information to develop more innovative and practical ways to engage your organization.
  • Internal competitions– Motivation through internal competitions can be extremely beneficial to your momentum and sustainability. Having rewards and recognition for your members (individual or department) creates enthusiasm towards 5S while keeping them in line with the overall goals. Once a competition is complete, the 5S steering committee can then assess what worked and what didn’t, applying the necessary changes for the next competition.

Ideally, the steering committee will hold regular meetings to determine the best course of action based of the performance of the 5S teams and their projects. From these meetings they can decide on the best sustainment methods, policies and standards for the 5S teams to go by.

Have Faith in the Committee

The members of your 5S steering committee are chosen because of their skills and expertise, having faith in them is an important part of success. Committee membership requires hard work, time, diligence, interest and specific knowledge of the 5S and lean concepts. It is important that staff respect their initiatives and understand why they are important to the overall process. If your committee has been selected carefully your employees will develop a faith in them and ultimately lead to a successful 5S program.

A successful 5S safety committee will establish the following:

  • Develop lean-minded people within the workplace
  • Build good teamwork by encouraging participation
  • Develop managers and supervisors for practical leadership
  • Improve infrastructures for introduction of advanced lean methods

Additional Resources