Once you’ve got a great 5S program in place at your facility it might be tempting to sit back a little and watch the results. This is, however, a mistake that far too many facilities make.
In order to keep the 5S standards you’ve fought for producing the results you need, it is essential to sustain the momentum. The best way to do this is to perform 5S standardization audits. These audits will not only find areas where the policies are not being followed properly, but it will also show everyone in the facility that these strategies are being taken seriously and need to be followed at all times.
Audits should be implemented as part of the overall 5S strategy because they will help avoid many problems down the road. When they are put in place during or shortly after 5S event, they will seem like just part of the standard operating procedure. In order to have successful audits it is important to follow the following simple tips:
- Schedule the Audits – Make sure audits are scheduled out so you don’t keep putting them off. Having monthly or quarterly audits is ideal and when you put them on your calendar ahead of time, you are less likely to put them off.
- Surprise Audits – Everyone should know that there will be regular audits, but they shouldn’t know the exact date or time. This is the best way to keep everyone following the concepts and strategies of the 5S system at all times.
- Public Results – Make sure everyone can review the results of the audit. This will let them make changes to improve and also help to use positive reinforcement to the areas which are performing well.
- Multiple Departments – Include multiple departments in each audit and include the teams in the audits. This will help ensure the same standards are being followed and it will also help to get outside perspectives.
- Use Audits to Learn – It is often possible to learn of new and improved ways of doing things during audits. Take the data you gather and review to see where further improvements could be made.
Audits should be done in a way which not only gets the data you need, but also helps everyone stay focused. It is almost impossible to have the individuals and departments being audited see it as a positive thing, but over time they should get comfortable with the fact that it is not a witch hunt, and it really is done to help benefit the facility as a whole.
When possible, focus on the positive side of the audit results so everyone can see that it is not simply a way to get people in trouble, but a way to help preserve the hard fought benefits of the 5S standards which have been put in place.