5S & The Genba Training Standard
There is a lot of talk about 5S and how it is the cornerstone of lean manufacturing. If this is true, then why is it that all we ask operators to do when it comes to 5S is clean? Are we to believe that cleaning is the path to world class organizational performance? Why is 5S thought of as a housekeeping program? I’ve published an eight part article series on 5S and the Eight Wastes that addresses these questions about how 5S is a systematic thinking process – NOT a housekeeping campaign.
An offshoot of this systematic thinking was posed in a question by a co-worker in a recent Job Instruction (JI) session: “how am I supposed to audit the workplace when regarding 5S standards?” My reply is simple and something anyone can do: refer to the Job Breakdown sheet for any given job. In the header area of the Job Breakdown Sheet (JBS) you will find a field for tools, supplies and parts required to do the job:
If you have been through a JI session, you will know that one of the four “Get Ready” points for instruction is that we should “have the workplace properly arranged, just as a person is expected to keep it.” Using the JBS, we can determine what tools, supplies, information and parts are needed to do the job as defined by the JBS. Anyone who has been trained using the JI four-step method will know that it is difficult to perform the job correctly, safely and conscientiously (i.e., to the standard) without a properly arranged workplace.
If you are out on a 5S audit and find there isn’t a JBS for the job, create one. It will help process owners define and design a better organized workplace. You can practice observing and adopting a questioning method to coach people versus a telling method. Use the JBS to help formulate your questions: “how do you remove the o-ring?” “What happens if…?” “What is the correct oil to use on this step?” The answers to these questions will give you the facts required for good workplace design.
You can use the 5S thinking method to help you along at this point. In other words, 5S supports the work standards and JI helps you sustain the gains made by 5S through good training and genba follow-up. Are only the parts, tools, materials required for the job in the work area? Are they arranged properly? Are there any unnecessary steps to this job? How can they be eliminated? The two are mutually dependent and one reason why many people don’t make it past 1S or 2S levels. Plus, if you want Lean buy in, supporting co-workers in making their job safer, easier and more consistent sure beats cleaning and getting the plant “tour-ready”!
For a more detailed article series on 5S and the Eight Wastes, see my articles page.