How do I implement 5S in my organization?

5S is one of the most effective and popular workplace organization methodologies in place today. It has been around for decades, and is used by thousands of companies around the world. If you have been learning about this effective strategy for improving organization, eliminating waste, and benefiting the company as a whole, you may be wondering how exactly it should be implemented.

While there is certainly no shortage of information on the concepts behind 5S, it isn’t always very practical in terms of what steps to take when you are ready to get started. The following are some important ways that you can begin implementing 5S in your organization right away.

Implementation Team

Whenever implementing any type of major new strategy in a company it is important to have a team of people who will work together toward its success. The implementation team for 5S should consist of members of all levels of management as well as front-line employees.

Depending on the size of your company, this team will typically be made of 4-12 people who are familiar (or will become familiar) with 5S and can help get the ball rolling. These members will identify various projects and ways that the company can make improvements related to one or more of the five S’s.

Establishing Baselines

The goal of 5S is to improve organization, eliminate waste, and ensure things are done in the most efficient way possible for the company. In order to do this, you must have baseline information on how things are prior to 5S. Getting this type of information together before making any changes will make it possible to have accurate improvement measurements.

Start Small

Many companies are tempted to begin their 5S methodology with sweeping changes that are designed to revolutionize the way work is done. While this can sometimes be successful, it is more often a dramatic failure. Instead, start with a few small projects that can be implemented quickly and deliver measurable improvements. This will serve to prove the value of 5S, build confidence in the 5S team, and show the entire facility just how effective it can be. Something as simple as installing floor marking tape to direct the high-low traffic can have significant results, and can be completed in just a few days.

Always be Improving

As you complete the first set of projects, it is important to keep the momentum going. Having a list of projects that can be completed, and keeping the team pressing forward at all times, will not just get you started with 5S, but help to change culture of the company to be one of continuous improvement.


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