5S Resource Center

Implementing an Organization-Wide 5S Effort

Step 1 | Start with the Leadership Team

  • As with any improvement effort, implementation of the 5S’s must be driven from the top of the organization.
  • Only Top Management can create the environment needed and give the effort the visibility and importance it needs for long term viability.

Step 2 | Build the Infrastructure

  • The 5S effort should fit within an organization’s existing improvement structure.
  • Divide & conquer by establishing 5S subcommittees for Communications, Training, Project Support, and Best Practices.

Step 3 | Launch Communications

  • Conduct short, focused, and frequent communication sessions with all employees on the what, why, how, when, and who of the 5S initiative.
  • Deliver the message in several formats including group meetings, using the organizations’ intranet or website, bulletin board postings, and internal newsletters.

Step 4 | Train Teams in 5S Techniques

  • Develop a plan to train everyone in basic 5S concepts and then supplement the generic training with just-in-time training in work-area-specific practices.
  • Note that the initial teams may need to be trained in problem-solving techniques and root cause analysis.
  • Additionally, there may be a need to provide training for the leadership team in communication skills, recognition strategies, and facilitation skills.

Step 5 | Begin 5S Pilots

  • Select areas that need the 5S’s (and that you project will be successful in adopting 5S practices) as pilot areas. What is learned in the pilot areas will be used to help develop a full roll-out plan.
  • The first pilot work areas to receive 5S treatment should be ones with high visibility. For example, select work areas in which nobody wants to work because they are so congested or dirty.

Step 6 | Establish Best Practices

  • Creation (and use) of a Best Practices Database can help multiply the impact of 5S successes by providing the means to share successes throughout the organization.

Step 7 | Develop a Full Roll-Out Plan

  • After completing the initial pilots and before involving the rest of the organization in the 5S effort, step back and evaluate how the pilots went.
  • Get ideas from members of the pilots about how to strengthen the 5S process and use those ideas to develop a roll-out plan.
  • A comprehensive roll-out plan defines the sequence of events, establishes roles, responsibilities, and performance measures.

Step 8 | Continually Evaluate & Adjust

  • As with any process, as lessons are learned, make improvements to the 5S effort.
  • Modify and strengthen the infrastructure, select new tools to add to the “arsenal,” develop improved methods to measure and communicate progress, and challenge work areas to constantly improve.