5S, Great tool, but so often misunderstood
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!