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Any Lean Manufacturing tool, business improvement strategy and even 5S will fail if you do not have a vision and strategy for where you are taking your business. 5S should form part of an overall goal for your business; it is not a goal in itself.
Failure to have a clear vision and strategy for your business future will prevent you from being able to clearly define what you are trying to achieve with your 5S program. 5S should form part of the journey towards that vision and everyone in your organization should know what the vision is.
Toyota are undeniably the world’s leading automobile manufacturer, they have a clear vision for their future and know what they are trying to achieve. This vision is communicated to everyone in the organization and everyone knows what their contribution is to achieving these goals.
If your employees cannot see how they contribute to the future of the company and what that future is they will have difficulty in committing to you and knowing in what direction to move. A 5S initiative with no clear objectives will not be as effective as one in which everyone knows the overall aims of the company in implementing it.
Management buy in and education for your 5S Program
Once you have a clear vision of where you are going with your company you can get the buy in of your management team. They will require to be educated in the lean principles, be able to identify the seven wastes of lean and the other wastes (muda, muri and mura) and then training in the implementation of 5S.
Your management should understand and practice the ideas of 5S themselves so as to provide an example to your other employees, it would be hard to motivate your employees to keep a tidy workspace if every time they walked past their managers desk they saw piles of untidy clutter.
5S Program Team/pilot selection
It would be unwise to try to implement 5S throughout your entire organization in one go (unless you have a small company), better to select one area in which to concentrate your efforts and provide a show piece for the rest of the organization.
In my mind it would be best to select the worst area in the company so as to show what can be achieved and the differences it can make. If your company is larger, select a couple of areas, but include areas other than just the shop floor, 5S and lean in general are as applicable to your office (Lean 5S office) and service areas as they are to manufacturing.
Ensure the buy in of the supervisor of the area in which to launch your 5S program implementation, they will be the one who will be leading your team within the area in question. It is important that the area owns their improvements and become responsible for the continual improvement of it. Also select people from outside the area to join the team, people from areas that will follow the pilot area are a good idea as they will then have some experience when it comes to implementing 5S in their areas. Outsiders are also useful as they will ask many questions and challenge if things are actually required and how things are done.
The management of the area must be able to show support and allow the team to make the changes that they feel they need to make, on the whole change instigated by 5S is either zero cost or very low cost so a small budget should be allocated for the team. Larger expenditure should go through approval routes just as any other expenditure.
5S Implementation Team training
The whole team should be trained in the vision and objectives of the company and given a clear understanding of what the company is trying to achieve through them and their 5S program implementation. They need to have a clear understanding of the seven wastes of lean and an overview of basic lean principles. With this knowledge they will be ready to undertake their 5S implementation.
If you do not have an in-house expert to facilitate your 5S program you will need to hire a 5S consultant or Lean / 5S trainer to do the work for you. Class room training is not effective for a 5S implementation apart from the basic overview and method. 5S is best learned through action and in-house 5S training courses, so the consultant / trainers role should be to facilitate and motivate the team as well as keep them on track.
5S Implementation DVD
5S Program Video
First thing is first, go out with the digital camera and take lots of pictures of the area in which you will conduct your 5S.
Examine your process measures and see if they are robust and will reflect the improvements you wish to make. If not create new measures of performance and collect data to make a baseline against which to measure performance improvements. Suggestions are things like output per man hour, qty of defects and rework, delivery performance etc.
In my experience the best method of implementation is to conduct the first three stages of 5S as one blitz, having the entire team in the area to remove all clutter and to clean everything and then arranging things in a neat orderly fashion as a starting point.
This will take between two or three days depending on the size and complexity of the area in which you are implementing 5S. At the end of this with the help of your facilitator the team should have removed all clutter, cleaned the area and organized all components, tooling, equipment etc.
They will probably have at this point a list of changes or required equipment that will take a week or two to complete and give further advances with regard to the organization and placement of things within the area. Therefore it is often worth taking a break at this point for a week or two before moving onto the fourth stage of 5S. During this time the team should meet each day to review how things are working and what additional improvements they could make.
The facilitator (consultant / trainer) should return after a period of around 2 weeks and the team should begin to work on the 4th stage of 5S and begin to standardize their operations. Create cleaning schedules and instructions, build standard operating instructions (very easy with today’s computer packages and a digital camera) etc. This stage is often neglected within many 5S implementations.
In addition to this the team should create standard audits to assess and score their area so that they can be monitored on an ongoing basis.
Photographs should be taken of the improved work area and a 5S story board put up to show the improvements gained. I would also suggest that the team be allowed to make a presentation to the management and the rest of the organization to show off their achievements.
5S Program Review
Once the team has completed the above they should go around and take more photographs, putting examples of before and after onto a 5S story board to be placed in the area showing everyone what improvements have been made.
Comparisons should also be made against the baseline measures that were initiated prior to 5S, then a measure of improvement can be assessed. There should be a marked improvement in efficiency and quality performance.
The team should take this opportunity to make a brief presentation to the management and the rest of the company with regards to how the process had gone and what improvements they had made.
5S Program Roll out
Select the next area(s) in which you will implement 5S as part of your 5S program and repeat the above steps for each area, include experienced people from your initial area in the next team to ensure that the learning from the first 5S implementation program are carried through.
As you roll out across your organization you may wish to consider the idea of 5S awards for the best areas on a monthly or quarterly basis, give your employees something to aim towards.
The 5S steps for your 5S Implementation Program
5S Seiri (Sort, Clearing, Classify) is the step in which you separate the clutter from the tools, equipment, materials and machines that you really need to have.
5S Seiton (Straighten, Simplify, Set in order, Configure) is the step in which you begin to arrange your items in an efficient and ergonomic way to improve efficiencies, quality and safety.
5S Seiso (Sweep, shine, Scrub, Clean and Check) is the step in which you clean down the entire area (and keep it that way) so that you can see when anything is going wrong such as an oil leak.
5S Seiketsu (Standardize, stabilize, Conformity) is the stage in which you develop standard ways of working within your workcells, through the use of visual management and standard operating instructions.
5S Shitsuke (Sustain, self discipline, custom and practice) is where you ensure that 5S becomes part of the culture of your organization.
5S Resources for your 5S Program Implementation
These resources will be of help for your 5S implementation;
- 5S Pocket Guides , books and cards as a quick portable reference.
- 5S DVDs and videos can help you show your workforce how a good 5S program should be implemented.
- 5S Books and 5S eBooks can give you good step by step guides to implementing 5S.
- 5S Supplies for when you implement 5S such as your racking and shadow boards.
- 5S training games and simulations to demonstrate how 5S is implemented.
- 5S Posters to remind employees of the steps of the 5S program.
If you have any questions or observations regarding 5S program implementation or want to share the success of your own 5S implementation please use the area below.