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Understanding the benefits of 5s

Why Understanding the Benefits of 5s is important

Understanding the benefits that a 5s project , initiative or focus area can provide to staff and employees no matter what area they work in will lay the foundations to a successful implementation and sustainable results.

Many benefits of 5s won’t be visible and tangible straight away. This is what many business leaders, plant and office managers don’t seem to be able to understand and handle. As most managers focus on results and headline figures that dictate business and individual performance,  truly understanding 5s as a first step is crucial to implementation later and not just thinking it’s just a tool to “clean up” the workshop or paint and fix up old equipment, it’s a culture change as much as an improvement push. A culture change can provide long lasting results.

When communicated and understood properly it changes people’s mindsets in approaching their workplace in a similar fashion as their own homes, where care is taken to maintain cleanliness, standards and order without direct intervention from external sources as they understand what value it provides to them.

Benefits that 5s can provide to managers and staff alike include

– Ease to find tools and equipment in any particular work area

– Less time wasted in finding work tools and navigating clutter to get a job done

– Ability to finish jobs quicker and with less stress

– Increased engagement due to working in a cleaner and orderly environment

– Healthy competitive culture in keeping employee workstation or areas in pristine condition

Resources to implement 5s

Both managers and employees involved in the implementation of a 5s culture in the workplace should be aware that resources including time, training and materials will be required to start the implementation phase of 5s. This should be regarded as an investment which will bear fruit in the future for the business.

Depending on the area and scope of the area included in the 5s focus there may be a need to invest significant resources in bringing the area to an acceptable standard. Investment returns are not always immediately visible and patience is needed.

Where to start a 5s project?

In choosing an area which can greatly benefit not only culturally but financially from the implementation of a 5s project, managers should look for common pain points and problem areas in the workplace or operation of a business, some which may include:

-Areas where clutter and disorganization is hampering meeting customer deadlines

-Cluttered and messy workshops where it is always difficult to find tools and equipment

-Problems areas affecting productivity, causing delays, lost work or tools

-Areas where there is any of the seven wastes

-Office areas that involve high movements of people, paperwork, many process steps or data processing by multiple people

The Benefits of 5s do take some time to realize. It is always prudent to perform a brief cost benefit analysis and chose an area of the business, in consultation with employees and staff, where the impact will be the greatest and it will deliver the most amounts of benefits and cultural change in the long term. Culture change can also be as valuable or if not more than cost savings as they indirectly affect productivity and employee engagement in their work.

Although a secondary consideration, initially, it will be generally better to choose an area where it will be easier to educate and get staff motivated to make a change or a smaller team or group of people. This will provide a faster base to build on as these groups of staff are generally more willing and open to make changes and embrace a success driven culture. After some initial success in this area, it can be seen as a role model area for skeptical or longer serving staff.

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