This week we are sharing our first of five best practices for
sustaining 5S. These are lessons learned from dozens of our
consulting clients.

Best practice #1: Audits aren't enough

I can't tell you how many factories I have toured where the 5S
auditing system is better than the 5S program itself. The truth is
that audits, no matter how good, are vastly insufficient when it
comes to sustaining 5S. Worse yet, they take time and energy to
manage. I suppose the reason so many organizations focus on the
audit is that they believe that measuring something will
automatically cause it to change. The problem is that what they are
measuring is the result of behavior, and behavior is tough to

So the bottom line is that audits, by themselves, are a waste of
time and energy. What is really needed is for supervisors and
managers to learn how to change behaviors. Then an auditing system
can be effective because what it is really measuring the the
capability of the supervisor or manager of the area.

This doesn't mean that you should abandon your auditing system.
However, if you're not dealing with behavior change along with your
audit, you're missing the boat.

Next week we'll talk about changing behavior.

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