As with any program, success is dependent on the expectations, guidelines and continued monitoring of the program. 5S is not a spring cleaning activity that can be performed once and forgotten. If it is not maintained, the facility will return to the way it was.
To maintain the program, establish clear expectations. Make the expectations visual. An effective visual tool is to use the photographs taken in the first three steps. Create a 5S board for each area. Post the photo of the area before starting the 5S process, then posts the photos showing the incremental progress after each step. Finally, post the photo the ideal setup after completing the Sort, Straighten and Shine steps. This posting board can serve as a reminder for what will happen if the 5S program is not maintained, and it provides a visual record of the expectations going forward.
Many companies adopt standards detailing what materials, tools and resources each work area requires. These standards are typically compiled in a binder or posted on visual boards within the work area. By placing the standards in the work area along with photos of the proper organization, anyone in the company can visually inspect the organization of an area at any time.
An important element of the Standardization step is to develop standard daily practices. Each employee should have clear expectations for putting everything away after use and for cleaning during and at the end of each shift.