Doing 5S Workplace Organisation Effectively

How to Do Work 5S Workplace Organisation

Many companies have started 5S and have a few good examples but all have failed to fully embrace the potential of the 5S methodology. There are some constants seen across manufacturing companies:

• Only started in one area and never expanded.
• Incomplete shadow boards.
• Lack simple standards and documentation.
• Poor of engagement.
• Weak auditing skills.

These common pitfalls are often seen as failures and lead to poor ongoing implementation of 5S practises. However, the benefits of the 5S methodology is something that companies desire to obtain. Then why do we always fall short?

Things to Think About

Before implementing 5S, start by thinking how you can steer away from these pitfalls:

1. We try to Sort, Straighten, and Shine someone else’s area first.

2. We focus only on Clean and Shine for the sake of cleaning, not inspection, maintenance and safety.

3. There is no sustained auditing to maintain the improvements you’ve made.

4. We are always too busy to maintain 5S after the first time round.

5. Doing only the 5S audit and not doing the problem solving to correct 5S standards.

6. Thinking that the purpose of 5S is to increase flow and productivity.

7. Making it a goal or tick the box exercise.

8. Measuring the number of 5S events.

9. It is someone else’s problem when they don’t follow the 5S standards.

These are some of the common pitfalls that slow down the take up of 5S behaviours. With these in mind, and having lots of persistence, it can become an effective tool to drive improvements.

To reinforce a couple of concepts, firstly make sure you’re trying to solve a problem with 5S; don’t just make a show of it. Secondly, be committed to sustaining the improvement before you start and thirdly, do have a little fun with it!

One last thing….A great question to ask of any 5S program is “What metric has improved that can be attributed to 5S?”

Robert Chittenden

Author: Robert Chittenden

Robert Chittenden is a Senior Lean Consultant at TXM Lean Solutions