5S Discipline and Training

The final stage of the process is 5S discipline and training. In order to maintain this system, all members of the company must receive the same level of training. Management must lead by example and ensure all associates are participating. By doing this, all employees will understand the importance of the process and see the committment of management to maintaining this system. Feedback is required in a timely manner as well as investigation into non-conformances. Keep this phrase in mind during this stage; if you want to maintain, you'll have to train.

Feedback

In order to maintain 5S discipline, real time positive and negative feedback is required to keep everyone abreast of the progress. When material is out of place, or an area has been left in a messy condition, management must inform those in the area that the behaviour is unacceptable and must be corrected immediately. In time, the employees will adjust to the system and police their own areas. When that point is reached, this type of feedback may no longer be necessary.

On the other hand, during the launch of this system, if things are going well and the process is being followed, do not hesitate to encourage the people in the area with positive feedback. Everyone likes to hear good news and this will go a long way toward getting buy-in from the employees.

Investigation and Follow-Up

When the system is not being maintained, negative feedback isn't the only action required. Investigation must take place to determine the root cause of the non-conformance. If there is a legitimate reason the system is not being adhered to, then it must be addressed.

After fixing the problem, be sure to follow-up on the issue to verify that it has indeed been rectified. If it has, great. If not, continue to work the issue until it is no longer a problem.

5S can play a major part of any facility, whether you are practicing lean or not. It must be directed from the top down and supported by the bottom up. It is a total company committment that will really pay off if implemented correctly.

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