Wednesday, January 30, 2019


I'm not here to lie to you. Seriously.

Most companies don't do 5S properly. They don't understand what it is.

And it's not their fault.

If you search on line, or pick up any book about 5S, it will explain all the steps. They are quite simple and seem logical. And when you walk through the steps, you'll likely come to the same conclusion most people do. 5S is about organization of the workplace. That sounds a lot like a housekeeping system. And that's what many companies use it for.

But that's not the intent. It never was. And that's why most people who try 5S fail. It is misapplied.

Here's the dirty secret about 5S: Trainers don't really need to know anything about lean to teach 5S. Companies are usually quite satisfied with the progress and the program, because of the big visual changes that happen quickly.

However, there is a 98% failure rate within 3 years of implementation. Habits do not change and people return to the way they did things before.

That's why managers say they have done 5S before. Sometimes many times.

That's sad.

The simple truth is that most people don't understand why things are marked off in their work area? Why the lines on the floor? Why is this bin in this set location, instead of over there where I had it before? Why must my tools be on a shadow board instead of safely locked in my toolbox?

Do you think people are compelled to follow your 5S rules just because you send the '5S police' to audit them?

You've probably heard of a level 3 5S before? It usually takes about 3-6 months to reach a level 3 5S.

But your consultant trainer likely didn't understand or adequately communicate the organization change that takes place to reach level 3.

Or, to be honest and frank, the company didn't care. "We just want a 5S system in place, we don't want to do lean".

So it doesn't stick.

At level 1, you are learning the principles. You learn basic housekeeping. You clean up to discover the flow in the workplace.

Most 5S implementations never make it past level 1.

Yet I'm betting their audit scorecard says 90+

Get the 5S Playbook and discover 5S done right.


No comments:

NBI - Making sense of business improvement - Blogged