Now, if you’re close enough to some colleagues ask them the same question. Go on, I’ll wait.
Great. Now that we have some “data” let’s see how your answers align with my ideas of what 5S is all about.
It’s not about cleaning up or labels
First of all, 5S is not about cleaning up. It’s not about sticking labels to everything in sight. It’s not about painting floors, machines, or walls. Nope, that’s not what 5S is about at all.
It’s not about straightening
Furthermore, 5S is not about straightening the items in your office or work area. It’s not about placing diagonal tape on books to keep them in the same place.
It’s not about standardization
Finally, 5S is not about standardizing the way our work is done. It’s not about audit forms or check sheets or fancy radar charts. No, sorry, that’s not the true reason for 5S.
It’s about Identifying Abnormalities
Of course, all the things mentioned above are important aspects of 5S and – obviously – things like sorting, straightening, and sweeping are crucial if you hope to standardize and sustain things.
But, you see, these are only the means to the true end of 5S.
And, you see, the true reason of 5S is to be able to immediately identify abnormalities. That’s it. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Done right, 5S will allow you and anyone in your organization to spot when something is not right within seconds. As such, once an abnormality is identified, immediate countermeasures can be put into place before serious issues arise.
What do you think?
That’s my two cents. Do you agree?
Want to learn more about 5S?
If you’re interested in learning more about 5S – what it is, how to do it, and how to make it stick – check out the Gemba Academy 5S Workplace Productivity online course.