HELP! My company has been “attempting” 5s for several years now,and have recently begun rolling it out once again after stopping it a few years back. My problem is this: We seem totally focused on painting everything from walls to floors, and thought this may look pretty, this isn’t my understanding of a full 5s. Brainstorming isn’t done properly so I see lots of errors in processes etc. S.O.Ps aren’t done yet management tell me we’re doing well because the place looks nice. I thought 5s was about eliminating waste and improving efficiency and quality? Maybe I’m missing something?
Well Paul, the good news is that at some point your management will run out of floors and walls to paint. The bad news, as you suspect, is that you are not practicing 5S. The fact that your organization tried 5S, gave it up and are picking it back up again is a good sign. Provided it’s not just a case of new management coming in and launching another flavor of the month, this demonstrates continuous improvement on the part of the management.
There are many free articles online on 5S you can use to educate your management, including 5S video available with free subscription. Some questions you might wish to raise with your management as you work with 5S:
1. Why did we stop our past 5S efforts?Which of those causes still exist? What have we learned from the success or failure of our past 5S effort?
2. How stable are our processes? How can we use 5S to create stability? How is the lack of 5S affecting material availability? Product quality? Equipment availability? Productivity?
3. How standardized are our processes? How quickly and easily can we access our standards? How up to date are they?
4. How can we use 5S to simplify and improve our processes? Where can we use visual systems to highlight abnormalities?
5. Why are we doing 5S again? Please remind us.
In fact, if you can find a free brush and can you may even want to write these questions on the wall in paint…