Empowering Lean Solutions for Everyone

5S Program

The implementation of a 5S Program is a simple process. Yet, so many companies fail. It’s a shame. If they would only set up a 5S Implementation plan and stick to it…

Here are the ground rules:


– Lean Manufacturing Overview Training – since a 5S program or system is the foundation upon which lean manufacturing evolved.

– Seven Wastes Training

Without that, your people will feel lost at sea (especially without understanding the Seven Wastes)

Understand the Seven Wastes yourself. Go to the plant floor and see for yourself (Genchi Genbutsu is the Japanese term for this fundamental lean concept). Open your eyes and see the wasted opportunities everywhere.

Implementation Steps for a 5S Program

1. Get trained in the 5S program.

Please follow the link to the 5S Workshop material section for more details.

2. Communicate to the Operating Committee the results of your training.

3. Decide on a pilot area together with the Operating Committee.

Two and three go together.

This would be a short discussion to give them an overview of the 5S program and to decide on the pilot area. You could get some suggestions as to what people you could bring in the team.

My suggestion: Pick a trouble area. After all, you want to make an impression, so that people would see immediately the great improvements.

4. Put together a small 5S core implementation team. Choose your team members carefully from several departments (I.e. Production, Maintenance, Materials, Engineering, etc.).

They should be people who work in that specific area or are part of the support departments and know that work cell.

5. Train them in 5S. You can do that yourself. Do you need 5S training material?

6. Establish a 5S Program Implementation Plan for the pilot project with your team.

Decide on:

  • how long it’s going to take
  • responsibilities
  • red tag area location
  • supplies and cleaning materials required
  • resources

You get the picture…….

7. Present the plan to the Operating Committee / Management Team.

8. Refine plan to implement 5S on the pilot area (a specific work cell, product line, etc.).

9. Execute the plan.

10. Present the results to the operating committee, together with the team. Show the condition before and after.

11. Let it run for a while, in this new state.

12. Get feedback from the people who work in the area and from the support groups.

13. Make adjustments according to their observations, if they make sense.

14. When ready for the next step, use the knowledge accumulated by everybody and make the 5S implementation plan for the whole facility. Use the teamwork approach.

You cannot do much by yourself (I’m not trying to put you down, you are doing great).Lean is about people working together to succeed for their future.