To succed in 5S


Following the PDCA cycle is the best method for structuring the 5S approach and guaranteeing its success.

PDCA means:

P = PLAN (Prepare)

D = DO (Make, Apply)

C = CHECK (Control)

A = ACT (Be and Respond)

To apply the PDCA course carefully is one of the necessary conditions for success. It prevents the need to stop after the D phase while clarifying the C and A phases that are the very essence of continuous improvement (verify the anticipated results, to correct possible variations, capitalize on what has been learned and continue to improve)

The PDCA applied to 5S

Let's summarize the PDCA of an implemented 5S project

1 - PLAN ( Preparation ) :

5S-Toolkit includes all the elements for the overall success of this crucial phase for the success of the 5S project.

2 - DO (Make, Apply) :

The manager's regular presence on the field and the tracking device are crucial elements for ensuring the success of this approach.

3 - CHECK (Control) :

Measure the achieved progress -Using the chosen indicators, it is possible to compare the achieved results for fixed objectives-.

2 types of indicators are to be monitored:

5S-ToolKit includes all the printed forms for the documentation and display of these indicators.

The Display Panel model facilitates the procedures for communicating these indicators to the entire staff.

4 - ACT (Act, react) :

When negative variations are found, the analysis of the root causes must take place with the project group.

Additional corrective actions are then added to the action plans. For successful project phases, capitalization of best practices is done while improving the progress standard of the pilot area.

Important Note: good reporting on exemplary achievements gives recognition to the Task Force Groups and fosters the generalization of the 5S approach in other areas of the company.

A Thoughtful Preparation

This page gives detailed information concerning the crucial phase for the success of all type of improvement projects: preparation

1 - Plan ( Prepare ) :

Here are some primary points for this phase:

Management must clearly show its ideas and determination for the success of the project by giving inconditional moral support to the Project Manager or the Members of the Group.
This commitment should also include the possibility of using the physical means (human, technical, financial) that are necessary for all procedures while focusing especially on this issue during the first months.

The 5S approach can be presented as part of a more comprehensive business strategy (increase in market shares, restoration of margins, visibility on the international level, improvement of public image, development of the organization's social and/or environmental roles, etc.).

To be credible, the Management Team and the Manager should have an exemplary role and apply to themselves the principles and tools that will be proposed to their team members.

The 5S approach concerns all areas of the business (workshops, offices, stores, shared spaces, employee lounges and meeting rooms, outside areas, etc.), but it is necessary to choose a pilot area for bring together all the right conditions for success and to focus on this example of success.

Therefore, it is important to start in an “easy” well-known sector in order to promote all possibilities for an approach that requires a change in habits for the greatest possible number of individuals of each team.

Everybody knows that changing one's habits is not an easy thing!

Initially, for a production site, the identification of a “workshop” area and an “administrative” area will also demonstrate the determination to include the “office” people as well.

Process indicators, such as the achieved 5S level and its change.

Decrease in waste through the 5S application can be measured with the help of quality indicators, cost and lead times initially chosen for the area.

Creation of a Project Piloting Structure

A specified and accepted definition of each individual's role is necessary.

The 5S-ToolKit has a detailed proposition for each individual's role and includes groups taking part in the project (Steering Committee, Project Manager, Task Force Group Pilot, Task Force Group Members)

For example, an excerpt of the Steering Committee's role is included below:

  1. Give the Task Force Group a clear vision of the objective
  2. Follow the Group's development and assist in eliminating obstacles
  3. Give the group the resources to achieve the proposed improvement activities
  4. Ensure a weekly follow-up for the action plan with the Project Manager
  5. Ensure the proper operation of the groups (participation indicators)
  6. Show consistency with other company progressive measures
  7. Be an example by attempting to personally apply the stated principles
  8. Put together concepts for generalization

Point 1 :
If the Manager wishes to develop participation and mobilize everyone's skills, the 5S approach is the ideal time for putting together a collecting system for Improvement Ideas.
In fact, during the 5 Phases, technical and organizational problems will emerge or re-emerge and you will have to encourage research and the implementation of simple solutions using operational concepts and methods.
A well-managed system of ideas makes it possible to quickly collect, implement established concepts, track and communicate successful developments.
Such a view makes it possible to reinforce the dynamics for changing habits and promote a state of mind of continuing progress.

Point 2 :
One point that must be followed on a regular basis is to meet with the Task Force Group (once a week would be ideal). This meeting has to be carefully planned and no longer than a half-hour. It will make it possible to evaluate the tough issues and review the progress of the action plan while identifying the priorities for the following week.

This essential phase conditions the success of an entire project. Poor preparation will result in difficulties and loss in time and money.

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