Anybody that has introduced 5S as a concept to the mass ranks of an organisation will know how difficult it can be. ‘Another flavour of the month’, ‘another thing to fit in’ and ‘when am i supposed to do this’ are amongst the many cries that can come back. But why is this?
The most common mistake organisations make in introducing 5S is failing to link it to the overall message of Lean and Waste removal. All too
often 5S is introduced as a stand alone program with the workplace organisation as its only supporting benefit.
In this case, it is a difficult sell. Leaving only the precise tools and equipment required in an area to perform a specific task, does not go down well when breakdowns and random quality issues are the norm and little is being done to fix them. The majority of people want to do a good
job for the company and keep the process moving, so it is natural for people to want to keep a few spare parts just in case.
In order to succeed 5S needs to be seen as more that just a house keeping tool. It needs to be linked to the bigger picture and to the overall waste identification process. After all that is what it actually is.
So when you are teaching 5S, explain it in those terms. The 1st and 2nd ‘S’ are aimed at setting the process out in such a way that abnormality can be seen quickly. The 3rd and 4th ‘S’ are aimed at trying to look for deeper issues and how a process can be further improved. And finally the 5th ‘S’ is actually all about the entire organisation working to make the process happen.
Also remember, that when a 5S audit is undertaken, it is not really the score that is important (although it does have a place), it is the small opportunities that the team see to improve.
If you would like to know more about 5S why not sign up for the free Kaizentrainer 5S course at
Or read ‘Tools for success’ By Barry Jeffrey and Graham Ross
I think most people have, if there honest with themselves, But why should this be, after all 5S can only help the workforce can’t it?
I think the truth of the matter, like most aspects of Lean, it is down to local culture and how the tool is deployed. Reading a book and then going out and implementing 5S really is not the way.
5S will only work if the workforce believes in it as a tool that is useful to them. This means taking time to explain in detail the reasons why 5S can HELP people.
You need to take time to explain that 5S is a waste identification and removal tool, and is there to help find waste at a local level.
In training it needs to be linked to the 7 classic wastes. 5S must not be seen as a house keeping tool, or something that is done when there is a visit. How many times have you heard, ‘Quick the Big Boss’ is visiting today, give the place a quick 5S!’…….Wrong message.
Time needs to be put aside to work locally with the teams as they deploy 5S in their areas. Not just send the middle managers and team
leaders out with audit sheets.
Audit sheets and there use can be one of the ‘make or break’ aspects of how 5S is received. Explain that the score is not the most important
box on the sheet. That honour goes to the area of the form that say’s ‘Opportunities for improvement’. Teams should try and identify just one or two opportunities at a time and work to improve them. They will then see their scores improve over time. If this is not done, the audit form can become divisive and 5S will start to receive a bad name.
So, 5S, Great tool, make sure it is understood in your organisation!
The word Takt is derived from the German word for beat. In the case of Lean, this refers to the pace of the process as dictated by the customer. If the customer orders 10, then 10 must be produced, not 9 or 11.
The best way to visualise this is by imagining an orchestra with the conductor at the front. He is the customer. The conductor moves his baton up
and down to indicate the ‘beat’ of the music he requires. The musicians follow this beat, all at the same speed, completely synchronized. If he speeds up, the entire orchestra speeds up with him. As he slows down, so do the musicians.
This is the concept of Takt time. A process should adjust its output based on ‘true’ customer demand and not keep running at its maximum speed.
Takt time can be calculated on virtually every task in a business environment. It can be used in manufacturing e.g. machining parts, drilling holes etc. In administration e.g. processing orders, call centre operations etc or in a production line environment, to pace the line.
When implemented correctly, running a process to Takt time provides many benefits. Just a few of these are:
- Since you produce only what is required by the customer, inventory is reduced
- Since the ‘product’ moves along the process at a given speed, bottlenecks are easily identified.
- Since problem processes are easily identified. repeat issues, like breakdowns, can be understood and fixed.
- Since the process moves at a fixed speed, work is balanced across all operators. If it is not bottlenecks will occur.
A lot of confusion can be generated around Takt time calculations. The simplest way of calculating Takt time is to calculate the Takt time for the output of the process. Work from the perspective of the customer.
In order to calculate Takt time, two pieces of information are required.
- Available Time – this is the shift time minus any breaks, clean up time etc.
- The Average Customer Demand – how many does the customer actually require in a given period.
Work in fixed periods (days or weeks) and apply the following calculation.
A store card company receives 2,100 applications per month. And on average they work 20 days per month.
Workers are paid for 7.5 hours per day. They have two 15 minute coffee breaks per day – which are paid.
So the Takt time is calculated as follows:
From the 7.5 working hours 30 minutes must be deducted (for breaks). 7 hours = 420 minutes
2100 / 20 = 105 applications per day
Therefore the takt time calculation is as follows:
420 minutes = 4 minutes
So if we were processing applications to Takt time, you would expect to see an application being processed every 4 minutes. Running with a Takt time of 4 minutes means that the process is set up to deal with the customer demand as efficiently as possible.
This Is an extract from the book Tools for Success, by Barry Jeffrey and Graham Ross. If you would like to know more why not follow the link www.kaizentrainer.com