The 5S

5S Know How from the Last Century

By Jon Miller Updated on May 29th, 2017

We are going through a fairly thorough 5S exercise of our server. Just over 22GB of files were red tagged last week. Of the few items that were salvaged from the red tag folder was a series of notes by Brad Schmidt, President of Gemba Japan.
These were from a Lean transformation engagement at a Midwestern aerospace company in 1999 that had its rough spots, if memory serves. Here is some 5S know how from Brad, rescued from the red tag bin:
5S Training
Insist on giving people training about kaizen and the 7 types of wast before doing 5S with them. If 5S doesn’t make sense to them, they will oppose it.
Tops of Cabinets
Always check on top of machines and cabinets. A whole bunch of stuff is up there.
Nest of Vipers
Wires, air hoses, and hydraulic lines on the floor make cleaning it hard. Get them off the floor. Think of these as a nest of vipers.
Less Self-discipline
Encourage people to do a good job on the first 4S so you don’t have to rely heavily on the 5th (self-discipline) which no one likes anyway.
5 Star Hotel
Treat 5S in the workplace just like a 5 Star hotel idea. You don’t spit in a 5S hotel.
Make Drawers Visual
Put photos of what’s in the drawer, so you don’t have to open it to find out.
Great stuff. Yet the last one troubles me. How would we ever put photos of what’s in our server, on our server? There are tens of thousands of files in there.
Thanks Brad, for writing down these 5S lessons you learned in 1999, before Lean manufacturing was a required phrase in every publicly company’s annual report, when the New Economy was the big idea, and when Toyota was just a foreign car company trailing behind Ford and General Motors in sales, hardly worthy of study by Midwestern aerospace companies.

  1. Mark Graban

    August 14, 2007 - 12:58 pm

    I don’t get it. In 1999, Toyota wasn’t “just a foreign car company.” They were being emulated (or copied) by many different industries by that point.

  2. Jon

    August 14, 2007 - 1:22 pm

    The resistance to all things Toyota was pretty fierce in 1999 within the US industrial heartland. Lean, TOC, Six Sigma, DFT and TPS were seen more or less on the same level by many of our clients. That’s changed quite a bit over the last few years with Toyota rising to number one, but this misconception remains.
    “Just a foreign car company” is a caricature of the views of a difficult client, not mine.

  3. Jan

    August 15, 2007 - 2:22 am

    Actually I am looking for a standard routine for cleaning up servers, especially shared diskspace. Maybe you have some clues for us?

  4. Jim

    August 15, 2007 - 3:55 pm

    Jan— Put capacity quotas on network storage, so far thats the best I have come up with that forces users to keep it clean… until they just start saving important documents on there PC which will subsequently crash.

  5. Marcie

    August 17, 2007 - 8:02 am

    Hi Jan – I just posted a blog entry in response to your question on cleaning up (5S-ing) servers. My company has done this a couple of times since I started here, and I hope that my insights are useful to you.

  6. Eric H

    August 18, 2007 - 2:59 pm

    Marcie, do you mean you just posted *to* a blog? The blog is the collection of posts, a single entry in it is a post.

  7. Jon

    August 18, 2007 - 9:35 pm

    Thanks Eric. Change made to above – “a blog entry”.

Have something to say?

Leave your comment and let's talk!

Start your Lean & Six Sigma training today.