The fifth and final step in a 5S System is Sustain. In this step you will instill the self-discipline and culture that will sustain the program. Over time a 5S System may become less effective due to complacency. To sustain a 5S System you must change the culture of employees and sometimes the company.
To instill the self-discipline needed to sustain a 5S System is to get everyone to understand that 5S is here to stay. By nature people are resistant to change. After a while they may fall out of the habits of 5S. Consider 5S to be part of the required work. If needed use disciplinary actions to make sure it is done.
Reinforce the 5S System by holding regular meetings and keeping employees updated on improvements. Solicit their involvement for suggestions or ideas to improve the 5S System. Many employees will appreciate a cleaner and safer work environment and will be willing to make the extra effort.
Evaluate the 5S System
As part of the continuous improvement of your 5S System you should regularly evaluate it. When you started the program you had a goal. Has that goal been reached? Are you getting all of the benefits of a 5S System? If not you need to examine why and put changes in place to achieve the desired results.
Kaizen is a philosophy of which continuous improvement is a major part. You should look at Kaizen methods to improve your 5S System. Use Plan, Do, Check, and Act (PDCA) cycles to make sure improvements are properly added to the 5S System. Examine each step in the process and determine if the step is needed, can it be improved upon or should it be removed.
To help draw attention to the 5S System and offer incentives to employees hold contests related to the 5S activities and events. Reward is a powerful incentive and the benefits you will reap from a well run 5S System will make the reward a worthwhile investment.
Contests for individuals can include the best 5S workspace. For teams or groups it can be an area or department. Awards for innovations and improvements that have been adopted will help the program and offer an incentive for everyone to participate.
An added benefit of 5S contests is the winners will serve as an example for others to follow. It will also create a friendly competition between individuals, teams and departments to win. While some may see this as bribery, it is better for morale and will yield better results than only using disciplinary actions. Remember you are trying to change the culture and that is not easily done when something is forced upon someone.
Change the Culture
In many companies today the philosophy is to maintain the status-quo. “If it isn’t broke, why fix it?” “I’ve been doing this job the same way for 20 years and it works fine for me.” These are the types of resistance you may run into. Resistance may come from management and employees. Some people just do not like change.
Without change it is impossible to grow, to improve, to do better. A 5S System should be the start of a change in the culture of your company, department and employees. Our global economy is very competitive. You should look for every opportunity to improve production, reduce costs and improve worker morale. A 5S System is an excellent base upon which you can build a culture of change and improvement.
In order for your 5S System to reach its full potential you must instill self-discipline and change the culture of your employees, teams, departments and company. Education and participation are your best weapons against complacency.
Contests and rewards are excellent incentives to draw attention to and get everyone involved in the 5S System. Be creative in how you create contests and reward those who perform well and offer innovations and improvements.
Often changing the culture is the most difficult part of implementing and sustaining a good 5S System. Resistance to change or new methods is commonplace. Everyone must understand that the 5S System is here to stay.
Education about the 5S System and its benefits is a useful tool to sustain the program. Use your 5S System as a base from which you can build a culture of change for your company. You employees will learn that what is good for the company is good for them. The benefits of continuous improvement will help make your company a stronger competitor in the global marketplace.
This is the last article in a five part series on a 5S System. The four previous articles Sort, Straighten, Shine and Standardize as well as this one are only an overview of 5S and what it can do for your company. While these articles are aimed primarily at production environments, a 5S System is just as important in an office environment. I plan to cover this at a later date.
A 5S System is easy to implement, has little or no cost involved and can reap great benefits for your company. I encourage you to research it more, develop your own plan and start creating a culture of change in your company.