- On 10 October, 2017
The 5S methodology has been one of the most sought-after tools in the continuous improvement toolbox since its development by Toyota after WW2 within what they called the “Toyota Production System” which later came to be known as “Lean Manufacturing”.
What is not to like on having a cleaner, healthier environment that supports Increased Productivity, Reduced Accidentality and Creating a World Class Environment?
Many companies try and fail either during the implementation or on the toughest part that is the “final S” – Shitsuke / Sustain. Amongst all the possible reasons for this failure, one critical factor is easily overlooked: the 5S’s are not necessarily a “one-through-five” step by step.
At EPIC, having implemented successful 5S Programs in over 50 companies, we’ve seen some of the downfalls and developed some effective countermeasures to avoid them.
- “Removing everything that was not needed only to realize everything is back in place” – Employees sometimes have emotional attachment to items, and sometimes they have a strong concern that if they let go, they might need it later and struggle because they’re gone.
- “Investing too much money on Shine only to have to re-do it a few weeks later” – No executive likes to invest money in painting / deep cleaning just to see it go to waste due to lack of a structured plan to sustain it.
These opportunities and many more are to be expected because of a simple reality: nobody likes change. Taking this into consideration, the following step-by-step can help you implement 5S:
- Have a 5S Implementation Team, responsible for keeping the methodology in check, running events and involving everybody.
- Split the workplace into smaller areas that can be attacked independently.
- Create an implementation plan for the whole plant.
- Make Sort an event. Music and food help set the mood and keep employees excited that “5S is coming”.
- Make sure every item in quarantine area is accounted for. If anything must be removed from it, understand why.
- While executing Set in Order, create no more than 20 rules regarding “what” and “where” everything should be, as well as how cleaning should be done for the area and a simple audit with YES/NO questions.
- Create an Audit schedule, involving 5S Team, area owners and executives. If 5S is important, people need to see it.
- When areas are kept as defined, and cleaning is done consistently for two weeks, execute Shine Don’t underestimate the power of food and music and the message that can be sent by executives cleaning and painting side by side with employees.
- With that being done right, Standardize and Sustain should come as easy as updating the Audits and keeping the schedule in place, with corrective actions handled by the area owner.
How about you? What good practices can you share on implementing 5S?
Come and share on our EPIC Lean 6 Sigma Forum