The most important element of 5S is developing and encouraging total employee involvement. 5S is not a program for a portion of the workforce. Everyone, from the most senior executive to the newest employee on the shop floor needs to embrace 5S. This requires continued training and communication. 5S must become a way of life in the organization.
Along with communication and training, a successful 5S program will include routine audits. The old phrase “inspect what you expect” is critically important. For a 5S program to succeed there must be regular inspections.
Inspections can take several forms. Each individual should examine their work area at the start and end of each shift to ensure it is properly setup. Supervisors should look for problems and items out of place during daily floor walks. Supervisors should also conduct periodic 5S inspections audits on a regular basis. Teams should be formed and members alternated on a regular basis. Teams should be made up of a cross-functional group that includes managers and executives who perform 5S audits on a regular basis as well.
This repeated inspection and audit activity will ensure that the 5S program is maintained and sustained.