You will face many challenges implementing and sustaining a 5S System. One of those is that a 5S System represents change. One way to make the change easy for employees it to use a slow and steady method if implementation.

The first thing to remember is there is no cookie cutter solution when it comes to developing and implementing a 5S System. Each organization is different as are the people who work in them. You must examine how your organization works and tailor your 5S System to fit.

For a 5S System to be successful you must be successful at changing the culture and the behavior of employees and management. Since by nature people are resistant to change this can be the biggest obstacle to overcome. By using the slow and steady approach you will be able to gradually change the culture.

The key is to start small and never stop improving. By using the Kaizen approach of small incremental changes it allows your employees to adapt to the changes with little disruption. With this type of implementation the 5S System will be better received and be more sustainable.

One Small Step at a Time

Start with one area of the office, department or other area you want to implement a 5S System in. Then gradually work your way through the organization step by step. This makes it much easier to plan for and implement. You are working with smaller groups so education about 5S is less of a burden. Once you have that area squared away and running under a sustainable 5S System move on to the next one.

Be sure that before you move to the next area you have put in place a system to sustain the 5S System. You don’t want to go in, implement the 5S System and move on to the next area. Be sure you have properly trained and followed up with the employees in this area before you move on to the next.

Your first 5S System implementation should be your best. It will be the showcase of how much better the work environment is. Consider it your training ground for building your 5S System. Learn what works and what does not. This will help you avoid mistakes when you move on to other areas and improve your 5S System.

A successful implementation of a 5S System in your first area will show the rest of the organization that there is nothing to fear. Once they see how much better the sustained 5S area is and how well the employees like it, it will make it much more acceptable as you move on.

Get Managers and Supervisors Onboard

Spend a lot of time with your managers and supervisors. Educate them on 5S and get them onboard early. They will be the ones who will help sustain the 5S System and can give you valuable insight into how it will best work in their area.

A 5S System is change and change is often met with resistance. By starting small you avoid the overwhelming effect that some may feel. For many organizations, particularly large ones this slow and steady approach works best.


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