5S deployment
My own experience

Last update: April 16th, 2010
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As 5S are fundamental prerequisite for Japanese industrial methods, implementing them in a formal way was a major project, from the start of our unit.

First step : Training managing staff

The first training was given to managers, foremen and line leaders. In addition to the course, frequent visits on the shop floor revealed numerous examples of lack of order, tidiness, but dust, obsolete parts or documents still lying around...

This was the moment to memorize initial status and kick-off improvement ideas.
(In the same time we worked on 5S, we introduced KAIZEN spirit)

Taking pictures to keep in mind original state, by collecting more pictures as project goes on, makes a nice before/after album.

Those visits on the ground were invasions, as no drawer or closet was safe before inspectors, showing lack of personal 5S.

Second step : effective starting of 5S

Managers, foremen and line leaders taught the 5S spirit and techniques to their teams, top-down.

Once explanations given, first improvement ideas, enriched with the new ones, from workers, technicians and employees, were given a planning for action.
The plant was sliced into sectors and responsibility of 5S split among the sections.
Top management issued basic 5S rules, a kind of table of laws, stating about stacking heights, stacking zones and so on.

Over five months, one S per month, sections had to turn ideas (e.g: planned actions) into reality.

First actions consisted mainly in cleaning, sorting and marking inventory zones, corridors...

Progress and compliance to rules were monitored by a monthly 5S patrol.

5S patrol

Some managers, foremen or line leaders were entitled both as responsible for 5S in their area and patrolman.
Chairman of that organization was the Quality Insurance manager.
To involve everybody, two different workers were chosen each month, to join the patrol.

Patrol used evaluation sheets, based on the company rules.
A couple of "inspectors" were given several sectors to check. Two patrols could check a same sector. Patrol planning was done so that each sector was checked over the months.

At the end of each audit (patrol), evaluation sheets with notes and remarks were gathered and discussed.

The 5S committee chairman (Quality Insurance manager) gathered the sheets and calculated a global result. A chart with all results was finally displayed.

5S Improvement Requests could be issued to some responsible person, requesting a concrete answer to some specific point. This person should respond quickly, proposing a deadline for clearing that troublesome point.

Third step : turn 5S into daily task

When 5S were kicked-off and this system understood, it was ready to be turned into regular job.
Yearly 5S target were assigned to divisions, as a part of their quality targets.
Average result of all monthly 5S audits should meet that target.
So patrols were kept after kick-off period.



About the author and his 5S

Chris HOHMANN is managing partner in an international consulting firm. Before starting this career, he was Production and Engineering manager in a French YAMAHA subsidiary factory.

His knowledge and experience about Japanese methods are first hand, real life and shop floor level!

Nowadays, he trains and tutors companies on performance improvement programs.


Some pitfalls

An essential condition for long term success of 5S is management's commitment.

Managing staff must keep pressure to avoid natural behaviors to ruin the first achievements.
Themselves must behave like examples.

To admit twists to 5S rules will poison them, making long term commitment questionable.

Evaluation standard criterion must adapt to specific conditions, for example to avoid production staff to claim about constraints office workers don't have; cleanliness and tidiness is easier to keep in office than workshop...


This page is a courtesy of ©hris HOHMANN - http://chohmann.free.fr/