Jon Miller of Gemba Panta Rei fielded a question this week about tracking a 5S "program." Jon raised a few questions of his own for those who may be relying on 5S as the keystone of their lean effort:
1. What is the purpose of the 5S program? You need to ask some "why"s about 5S in your operation. Is it merely good housekeeping, or a means to better safety or visual management? Or something else? You can't track what you don't understand.
2. How do we measure success of the 5S program? What's important right now and in the future to your reason for practicing 5S?
3. Based on this, what are we trying to track? From how clean is clean, to how committed employees are, what progress are we making and how do we know when we're there?
Jon goes on to explain what he sees as the importance of 5S and making measurement part of on-the-scene leader daily management.
Added to Jon's observations, which I will leave up to you to read, are several comments from Chris, Tim, Steve, and Pedro about how they have kept a finger on the pulse of 5S implementations in their experiences.
All in all, a quick thought starter for your next visit to the plant floor, because you will, of course, do that every day.