5S is a process to achieve a safe, efficient and organized workplace. It allows people to see if things are abnormal quickly, so they can address the issue. It does not keep people from doing something. 5S just allows someone to see if something isn’t right quickly.
The Five S’s are:
- Sort – Decide what is needed and what is not needed. Get rid of the things not needed.
- Straighten – Understand how things are used and put them in an appropriate place for the work space.
- Shine – Clean and label the area.
- Standardize – The work you have done is the new standard and needs to be kept that way.
- Sustain – The hardest part is not to let the work space degrade. Put checks in place to keep the standards in place.
Quite often 5S is equated with being lean. A large number of people believe that 5S is foundational to being lean. The thought is 5S is the first thing an organization must do to be lean. That is not necessarily the case.
Something as simple as organizing the workplace can help improve the efficiency of many things you do. I have seen 5S help gain large improvements with quick changeovers of machines. Looking for tools always seems to be the biggest waste when breaking down a setup of a machine, so having the tools in a particular spot every time can help a lot.
5S is not just for the manufacturing floor. It can benefit any work space, including in the office. But you do have to be careful. When it comes to 5S in the office many people get carried away. They prescribe marking where the computer should be and taping an outline around the stapler at everyone’s desk. This isn’t the purpose of 5S, so be sure to do 5S correctly in the office in environment.
Think of a NASCAR garage when doing 5S. It is spotless. The reason, so any drip from the car can be seen immediately and the problem can be addressed. You can’t go too far with organizing your work place.
5S is hard work. The hardest part is sustaining the work of the first 4S’s. Sustaining the work takes discipline. If the discipline is maintained the rewards of 5S can be great.
Good luck on your path to success with 5S.
Visuals really help people understand the information. Everyone sees the same visual and it starts a good conversation allowing people to gain high agreement. The issue is all the visuals I listed are tools and as with any tool you need to understand when to use it.
To be effective with using visuals, you need to understand what information the group is trying to understand. What is the purpose of the visual? Who is the audience? What do they need to learn from it?
Most of the time the standard visuals will be perfect. You can use them and get everything you need. That is why those tools are well known, because they are used all the time and work. But sometimes, they won’t.
Don’t be afraid to make up a visual tool to present the right information in an easily digestible manner.
Here are a couple a colleague and I came up with for a recent event:
This one shows the % of time people spent doing different tasks throughout the day. It helped the group better understand who was doing what and for how long.
This one shows the frequency of tasks. Daily, Weekly or Monthly? What was the task done on? Who many times on that day?
In both cases, the different colored post-its represent different areas of the company doing the work.
As you can see, the standard visual tools would not have shown this information in a easy manner to understand. We designed this for the group and it worked very well.
We can’t always rely on the tools we have and know in our toolbox. Sometimes we have to think outside the toolbox. It is important to understand what your customer/group is trying to accomplish and design the visual accordingly. Don’t meet the needs of the tool. Meet your group’s needs.
If you are a regular reader of Beyond Lean, you may know that my wife has her own small business. It is just her and I. She runs the business 24/7 and I help where I can on nights and weekends.
Both of us have learned about a wide range of business aspects over the last couple of years from her small business. My wife has a background in marketing, but has learned a lot about IT and web design, materials, costing, production of a consistent product, using data to determine what the customers like and a lot more.
I have been working quite a bit with display booth setup and teardown (quick changeovers), preparing raw materials for usage and investment decisions.
When owning and running a small business a person can see everything from end-to-end. How a packaging decision can affect sales? How does shelf life of a product have an effect on the quality? How do certain ingredients react when mixing for production? Do they cause immediate quality issues? Do they cause quality issues over time?
In our experience, we have seen how lean thinking can be more natural for a small business. There is more of a concern about inventory and cash on hand, so there are many decisions that go into building to stock or building to order. Using visual management to make things easier to see when work needs to be done or not. I have some examples from my wife’s business that I will post at a later date as well as examples I have posted in the past.
I have learned numerous things from working with my wife in her small business that I carry on to my other job as lessons to apply.
Owning a small business is very hard work. You have to learn about things that don’t necessarily interest you, but if you want to be successful you have to get it done. In the end, it can be very rewarding and extremely educational.
Have you ever sat in a meeting where the discussion is about the high (sometimes low) inventory levels? Do you frequently hear the answer of, “Once we get our better forecasting tool in place our inventories will be better.”?
This is a strong sign the company has not fully embraced lean thinking.
A lean company would not even have a discussion where forecasting tools are the solution. A lean company is closely connected to their customers. The goal is to make one product when one product is bought by the customer. I know this isn’t easy for all companies, but the discussion would be around how to move in this direction. Not how a better forecast can be generated.
There is one thing I can guarantee about a forecast. It is WRONG!
I have never heard anyone say, “Man, I nailed that forecast! I hit it right on the nose!”
Don’t misunderstand me. I do believe there is a use in looking forward and understand what is coming. A company would like to understand if a peak or a valley of the product sales might be coming. This can help set and adjust maximum kanban levels for that period of time.
A forecast is good to understand directionally where volumes are heading. Forecasting is not a good basis for your entire inventory strategy.
It is a difficult mindset to change. When you do and act on that new mindset, the dividends it pays are enormous.
H&H Color Lab began in the basement of Wayne and Shirley Haub’s residence in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, in 1970. Wayne and his brother, Ted Haub, owned a portrait studio that had just landed its first high school senior contract. With a background in and love for color printing, Wayne chose to install his own color processing equipment in the basement of his home.
Business increased, and so did the need for additional space and employees. What began with Wayne doing everything from his basement has grown to 165 people and 55,000 square feet of space over 40 years later.
H&H customers are primarily school/portrait/wedding photographers. The offer a wide range of products from photo prints to books to Leather bound albums and digital products.
In 1999, H&H Color Lab started is Lean journey led by Lee Gabbert. Lee had been with the company for 5 years at the time and was chosen to learn more about lean and teach others at H&H. They started by reading “Lean Thinking” by James Womack and Daniel Jones. H&H also decided to get a sensei to help them learn as they traveled the bumpy road down the lean path.
H&H Color Lab started by setting up work cells, going away from a department mentality. H&H moved to smaller batches, moving cells closer to the monuments (that they couldn’t move), standard work, and lots and lots of 5S.
Muda (waste), lead times, late work and quality all had improved. In fact, the gains from lean had now freed up space that was once occupied by manufacturing departments. It allowed H&H to take the space and use it as a training facility to help customers from all over the United States. Thus, H&H University was born. Roughly 3,000 square feet of space was now designed and transformed into a learning center, working photographic studio with equipment, mock up photography sales room, photography studio work area, kitchen to host all day training, library sitting room with sample products that H&H produce on the book shelves and restrooms. By providing training for customers (mostly free of charge), you truly can engage in a partnership that can grow.
All of this work allowed H&H Color Lab to make a success transition from the “Age of Film” to the “Digital Age”. Understanding their customers and providing training and education others companies do not, shows how the most important part of lean, focusing on the customer, helps you innovate, grow and thrive.
Here are results that H&H Color Lab have seen from their lean implementation.
|% Shipped Late||
|Time in Plant||
I received this picture from a guy I worked with and coached for a couple of years. I am sharing this with his permission
(click on image to enlarge)
He and his wife would go to the store and if there was a sale, they would buy meat. They never knew what they had at home. When they got home from a recent trip they had bought meat they had plenty of…again. So my friend decided to get visual. He sorted out the meat that had gone bad and then created this visual board to better understand when he needed to buy a particular type of meat. He likes to barbeque so he keeps a variety of meat on hand.
The board is simple. Conveys one type of information. And anyone can understand it by looking at it.
What visual management have you used at home?
One of the first concepts that pops up when learning about lean is single piece flow. This is a great concept and should be considered when it is appropriate. Cooking my french fries might not be the time to use single piece flow, but downloading songs may be.
My wife runs a small business of her own. She sells products online through her website and Etsy as well as events in our local area. Selling online and brick-n-mortar poses problems from time to time. One issue is wanting to provide a wide range of scents for customers, but not having large amounts of inventory on-hand because of the batch process of making the soaps in loaves.
After a year and a half, we think we find a solution to this issue. Most of her requests for custom scents come through her online sales. Typically, she has the fragrance available but can’t justify making 8 bars in a batch because the other 7 may sit for a year or longer. She has found a mold that works very well and is the size she needs that allows her to make one soap at a time. My wife can now fulfill the requests of her customers and offer more fragrances to her line in her online shop without the expense of carrying a year’s worth of finished product.
What about the live events to sell the inventory?
Good question. The events are always in the Sept – Dec time frame. So, if a customer orders a special scent in January, the rest of the finished goods would sit until September at the earliest. She could have used the raw materials for other products. The soaps that are high volume sellers and do well at the live events can be made in batches right before the event. Any finished product that is leftover after the event season can be sold online.
It is a good mix of using single piece flow and batch processing when it best fits the situation. It is about understanding your business needs and trying to meet those needs. Not forcing everything to one solution whether if fits or not.
What makes sense for your business?
New followers of the blog can use this as an opportunity to read posts they might have not seen in the past. While, long time followers can use this as an opportunity to re-read some of the top viewed posts.
This post will count down the 10th thru 6th most viewed posts of 2012. Enjoy!
5. Sportscenter Has Killed U.S. Manufacturing (June 2012) – Previous Year Ranked #3 – Manufacturing is fundamental. The U.S. has lost it’s sights on the fundamentals and is just worried about the flashy. The U.s. needs to get back to the fundamentals in order to get back on top.
4. Need the Mental Toughness of a Navy SEAL (February 2012) – Inspiration of a Navy SEAL got me thinking about the mental toughness it takes to create change.
3. 5S in the Office (September 2010) – Previous Year Ranked #1 – Most viewed post for two straight years now. A look at using 5S in the office. What is going too far and how to use 5S in the office properly.
2. Keys to Sustaining 5S (September 2011) – Tips to help sustain (the 5th ‘S’) the gains made from implementing 5S.
1. Why Are Lean People Seen As Lean People? (February 2011) – Previous Year Ranked #2 – Exploring the question as to why lean people are not seen as more than just lean experts. Looking at a process from end-to-end seems like a good business practice no matter what the role.
I look forward to more posts in 2013!
I was looking at the Top 10 posts for 2012 and noticed that only 2 posts from 2012 made the Top 10. Both posts were from earlier in the year. I finally realized that a post from about May on in the year has very little chance to overcome posts that have a 5 month or more head start on gaining views.
I decided to highlight 5 of the most popular posts written in 2012. Then in January I will post the Top 10 posts for the year.
Enjoy and have a Happy New Year!!!!
5. Misinterpretations of Lean vs. Six Sigma (April 2012) - How Six Sigma and Lean can be misrepresented in what their purpose is.
4. Strategy A3 Downloadable Template (April 2012) – This is the post about the new downloadable template to help with strategy discussions.
3. Visuals Used in the Office (October 2012) – A couple of visual management examples from the transactional workplace.
2. True Mentoring (May 2012) – This is my take on true mentoring versus fake mentoring that goes on in business today.
1. Need the Mental Toughness of a Navy SEAL (February 2012) – Inspiration of a Navy SEAL got me thinking about the mental toughness it takes to create change.
Have a Happy New Year!!!!
An often overlooked aspect of designing a process is defining the who the decision maker is for directional decisions. When it is not clearly defined as to who has the final say then a lot of waste occurs. Decisions are made by the wrong people that can cause rework later in process. Confusion can occur as to who someone should go to for a decision causing delays or decision not to even be made.
A common tool I have been using for the last couple of years is RACI. Catchy isn’t it.
R – Responsible – This is the person who does the work. Responsible for taking action.
A – Accountable – This is the final decision maker. The “buck stops here” with this person. They own the work or project and have power of the veto.
C – Consult – This is someone who is asked to give input to the action/decision.
I – Inform – These are the people that are notified of what is being decision has been made or action will be taken.
An example would be product development.
R – Designers are Responsible for creating the product.
A – Product VP would be Accountable for deciding the product will meet the consumer needs.
C – Finance and Manufacturing Consult on what is cost and manufacturing feasible for the new product design.
I – Distribution and Sales are Informed of the new product and when it will be ready.
It is amazing at the efficiency a process can gain by defining and documenting the RACI for decisions and actions that are executed in a process.
Have you clearly defined your RACI?