Five Steps to Making 5S a Huge Hit in Your Organization.
5S can be an incredibly effective initiative with the right implementation, yielding highly visible, quick successes where the benefits can be seen and appreciated by every level of the organization.
By Tommie Andrews
With the onset of the new year, like most of us in the supply chain business, you are probably thinking about starting Lean, DMAIC, PDCA, TPM, TQM, JIT, or Kaizen, but you are dreading the challenges that come with implementing a continuous improvement (CI) methodology. But implementing a CI program doesn’t have to be an anxiety filled trial of patience. In my experience, the best way to ease an organization into a CI program is by introducing 5S. No, I’m not talking about the newest iPhone. 5S is an approach to organizing workspace to gain efficiency and effectiveness.
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a new way of thinking. You have probably heard of 5S or 6S before. You may have even used one or the other, only to have it fizzle out like other efficiency tactics — flavors of the week — for whatever reason. But 5S can be an incredibly successful and lasting initiative with the right implementation.
Here’s the quick and easy way to make 5S a huge hit at your organization. (HINT: take lots of pictures.)
- First, get a small team together of no more than three to five employees. Explain to them that you want to try something called 5S and walk them through the process at a high level: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. Give them the 15 minute version.
- Second, pick an area of the company that is highly visible and an eyesore (disorganized), like a break room, mail room, or other common area in the company. Take a lot of “before” pictures.
- Third, begin 5S. Sort, eliminate unnecessary items, and when you’re through, take lots of pictures. Start the Set-in-Order phase by organizing what’s left, whether it’s tools, equipment, utensils, whatever. Once organized, take lots of pictures. Next, Shine –clean, mop, paint, change light bulbs, whatever you have to do to make it bright and shiny. Afterwards, take a lot of pictures.
- Fourth, take the before and after pictures and post them in that newly organized and cleaned area. With the pictures include a cleaning checklist, titled Standardize, and assign a different team member to keep an eye on it each week. Audit the area (Sustain) each week and report your findings to the team.
- Finally, after a couple of weeks of maintaining the area, put all those pictures in a 30-minute presentation and acknowledge the 5S Champions (your team members) who helped you. Explain to everyone how this super easy method of cleaning and organizing not only helps the organization look and feel better, but also makes the company more efficient and effective.
This is a great way to get 5S started. To continue the success, attack the next eyesore in the same manner and continue to post the photographic evidence. The visual helps your organization gain and maintain momentum for 5S, as well as your other CI initiatives, and provides a positive, tangible foundation on which to build a broader program.
Outside of manufacturing supply chain departments, CI programs may be less tangible or lack a history and understanding of quality methodologies. But, whether you start in the damage hold area of your warehouse or in the records room of your purchasing office, you are improving your chances for success.
5S is simply one of many tools in your CI tool bag, and when implemented correctly, it can not only help jumpstart a broader CI program, but also have a powerful and lasting effect.
Good luck moving forward with your CI program in 2014.
Lean series on “Lean Beverage warehouse” http://edgeinbev.wordpress.com/
Supply Chain Lean article http://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/the-lean-supply-chain-watch-your-waste-line/
Lean Supply chain articles from LeanCor https://www.leancor.com/index.php?page=articles