More 5S, 6S needs 5S’d & engagement vs. dictation

So, over a year ago I dug into 5S. Well, I have been participating for some time – but I drafted a blog entry about it. Recently, I gave a whole mess (pun intended) of training, 101-sessions. They were refreshers for most, but new people as well. In either case, the presentations went well but the audience was not expecting the message that I delivered, or perhaps, the way I conveyed it.

6S has too many S’s. Converting 5S to 6S by adding safety to the equation has gained popularity. By design, if you follow 5S, the 6th S will come. If you truly believe the idea behind and process of 5S then safety is a result of doing the other steps (sort, straighten, sanitize, standardize, sustain). The logic is meant to focus on safety, but I challenge in a culture where 5S is believed, and safety is a core value – it will happen without the “s.”

You are going to design where things go, not me. Dictating to the team where things go – makes no sense. The operators perform the jobs daily and have a more intricate knowledge as to where things go. You would not want me to tell you where to put your silverware or dishes at your home – I do not understand everything about your space. I may suggest that the silverware be organized, and in the kitchen but after that it is most likely not the same – right? Set guides or boundaries but empower and encourage the rest. As long as 5S principles are followed, performance and quality are considered – take a step back. The only stipulation is that whatever is agreed upon, is adhered to. If the trash can is placed “there” for “x-y-z” reason I expect to find it there every time.

The training and floor activity are useless unless built upon. 5S is a culture and the journey is meant to be more than a one time event. Simply cleaning your house will not keep it clean unless there is organization (strategy of placement), a plan to keep it that way and commitment to follow the plan. A culture is developed with habit, routine or cycles that believe in the why we do – what we do; do what we say – and say what we do.

You do not need to label everything. WHAT?!?! BLASPHEMY!!! You did read correctly. If you had a culture, where everyone knew what needed to happen and where everything went plus why – would you really need to label things? Labels are to keep things in place and to communicate via visual aides (visual management) the proper places. Do you label things at home – which drawer is the silverware drawer, where the pots and pans are?

Audits, if done right – do not need to be formal. So, an audit is the constant evaluation of a program. Many times there are monthly audits – but I would argue that each shift, each day, each move in the process can be an audit. If people are taking small steps on a routine basis to maintain the system – the paper audit is only a formality. Issues, improvements and sustaining are happening in a culture all the time at the point of contact.

Whether you agree with each thought, or not, is not the point. Where are you at in your program – is it a culture or a task to be checked off?



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5S, 6S, audit, Internal audit, lean, manufacturing, Risk management
#5S, #6S, #Audit, #InternalAudit, #Lean, #Manufacturing, #RiskManagement


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