Executing a 5S Launch

If you’re considering implementing a 5S system in a facility, it is essential to take the time to do it right. When done properly, the 5S system can be an effective way to clean and organize a workplace, allowing it to run more efficiently. If the 5S launch isn’t well thought out,  it can lead to disaster.

One of the most important things to have in place for a 5S launch is the full support of upper management in the company. Without this support, it will be virtually impossible to get all the different department managers, and other key players to commit to the long term success of this system. While 5S is a low-cost system to implement, it does require significant changes in the way people work at every level of the company. This is why executive leadership buy-in is so essential.

Step 1 – Educate Yourself

Before you even approach the executive leadership team to get their support, you need to make sure you’re ready to present the 5S system in the best possible way. This will require you to know the system inside and out, including both the benefits it will bring to the facility, and the potential hurdles which need to be overcome. You can educate yourself with books, online websites, or in-person seminars and courses.

Remember, most people are resistant to change, so you need to present an air-tight case for why the 5S system is right for your company. When presenting this idea to upper management, make sure to illustrate how the system will improve the productivity, safety and efficiency of the facility. These are all key aspects of running any facility, so they will certainly get the attention of the leadership team.

Step 2 – Create a Plan

In addition to being well educated and ready to present the many benefits of 5S to the senior leadership team, you also need to have a plan ready to be implemented upon approval. Ideally this plan will be at least partially completed before you present your case to management, so they can see how the 5S launch will go. Of course, you’ll require full buy-in and approval before you can complete the implementation plan, because it will require resources from other teams.

Step 3 – Create a Team

5S requires changes from every area of the facility, so each department should be well represented on the planning and implementation team. Choosing the individuals to join the 5S system launch team is an important step. To the extent possible, make sure to choose people who you believe will be supportive of the ideas, and are generally willing to take on changes in order to help their department and the company as a whole. Working together, complete the full 5S system launch plan and present it to the management team for approval.

Step 4 – Engage the Staff and Initiate the Launch

The final step in preparing for a 5S system launch is to engage the staff in the facility. 5S will impact the way they do their jobs in some very significant ways, so getting them to embrace the change ahead of time is very important. Rather than simply announce the launch date, start with some training classes or seminars which will not only educate, but also get the staff excited about the improvements which the system will bring about. The official launch date of the 5S system should also be announced in these meetings. Make sure to give everyone sufficient lead-time to prepare for the changes, but not so much as to put it to the back of their minds. A launch date within 2-3 weeks of the announcement is typically ideal, though this could change from facility to facility.

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