As we have previously discussed, 5S is an organizational process which involves creating and implementing an environment focused on cleanliness, empowerment, and high productivity. The primary goal of 5S is to make your workspace so efficient that it makes mistakes or abnormal conditions glaringly obvious to the eye. The methodology behind 5S gives your workplace something for which you can all be constantly striving: continuous improvement.
Now that you know what it is, how do you work toward making your workspace more aligned with the principles of 5S?
1. Make small adjustments. Instead of trying to overhaul each area of your organization over night, it will be much more manageable to concentrate efforts in one department before moving on to the next. The successes achieved in the first area of improvement will inspire the rest of your company to rally behind your movement to 5S, and it will make the rest of the transition process that much easier.
2. Thorough training for each team member. Every person in your organization should be informed of your vision of success and the goals behind the changes to come. By giving everyone a clear understanding of 5S, how it will apply to them, and what your expectation will be from here, you are empowering them with knowledge and the ability to act within their environment.
3. Management cooperation. Get your management team in on the planning process. They are the ambassadors between your big picture plans and your whole team, so they must be given the tools to be the best examples for their subordinates. Remind them that they must strive for excellence in their own workspaces, so your workers will see that they are taking the lead and initiative to follow the new principles of 5S.
4. Make it a daily practice. While it may be satisfying to have a deep “spring cleaning,” it is much more efficient to make 5S part of the daily operating procedures in your organization. Empower each member of your team to take charge of something beyond their individual workspace. This will result in less time and resources wasted overall.
5. Don't rest on your laurels. After making the small adjustments you have planned for the first round of improving your workplace and creating a 5S philosophy-based environment, keep striving for continuous improvement. Watch your team as a whole, and confer with your appointed management team members. Take notes, and share them with each person in order to refine the procedures outlined. Before and after photos of workspaces will also allow your team to see, visually, the drastic improvement that comes along with implementing 5S.
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