Why does 5S fail sometimes?

Virtually all companies that choose to implement a 5S system will get started with the best of intentions. Unfortunately for many facilities, after a time people lose their focus on 5S and it falls by the wayside. Understanding why 5S sometimes fails is something that all companies should learn before beginning their implementation, so they can take steps to avoid common problems. The following are some of the most common reasons why 5S sometimes fails in a company.

Failing to Get Initial Buy In

5S Cancelled event

When 5S is started at a company where serious efforts to secure buy in from the top down aren’t made, you can be confident that it will fail over time. 5S requires real commitment by people ranging from the front-line employees all the way up to the CEO or owner of the facility. When looking to start a 5S program in a facility, the first thing that needs to be done is get real commitments from all levels of management. If they aren’t willing to commit to the long-term success of 5S, it is likely better not to start the program at all.

Cost Savings are Not Tracked

Even when 5S is working well, the program can be canceled or lose focus if the benefits can’t be easily tracked. When a company wants to cut unnecessary expenses, they may look at 5S, and if it can’t be shown how this program is actually improving the bottom line, it will lose any time or other resources that were allocated toward it. Tracking all details of everything that is done through the 5S program will help to maximize the chances of its success.

Lack of Direction

In order to be maintained over the long-term, 5S requires real direction. Those involved in the system will undoubtedly come up with many different ways that it can benefit the company. Attempting to implement them all as soon as they are discovered will be very disorganized and ineffective. Having a good core group that manages the 5S strategies will help to maintain focus, and ensure the most important changes are made first. This will help to keep everyone engaged and ensure the 5S system continues long into the future.


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