Creative Safety Supply

The Final 5S Phase: Sustain

2 min read

5S SustainOnce you implement the 5S model in your place of business, you will see the improvements very quickly. By the time you reach the fifth and final phase, your space should be cleaned and organized and standardized procedures should be developed. But the key to key to long term success is simple – diligence. You need to sustain these results and your progress in order to have a successful 5S program.

Here are some great techniques to keep your staff motivated:

Assign the time to do it.

Give your staff the time to do the steps correctly. For example, designate the fifteen minutes before lunch and shift end as Shine time. During this time, their main focus could be cleaning and organizing according to their checklists.

Start from the top.

Your whole organization must be on board if 5S is going to work in the long run. If your employees see that management is not following the steps, do you think that they will continue to do it?

Create a reward system.

Have friendly competitions between departments each month and reward the winner. Buy them lunch, let them go early one day, or give them priority parking. It doesn’t have to break the bank; you just want to show them your appreciation for a job well done.

Get everyone involved.

Form a committee made up of employees and supervisors of different departments. Their job will be to oversee the implementation of 5S for a fixed period, maybe six months, and then you can rotate in new members. Listen to employee feedback and take their suggestions into serious consideration.

Let them see it.

Posters, banners and newsletters can be a constant reminder of the importance of 5S. Consider posting pictures of the space right after the third step, Shine. This will serve as an example of how it should look at the end of each work day.

Train new employees.

When a worker joins your 5S organization, have current employees carry out their training on the system. This will not only ensure your efforts will be carried over to new workers, but it gives existing employees the opportunity to evaluate their own knowledge and ask questions.

A common concern with this methodology is that the new 5S efforts won’t have the intended results. It’s important to not be discouraged If the 5S audits are coming back and they’re not stellar. This is a problem many organizations face, but a problem that can be fixed. Most issues can be traced back to three contributing factors: inadequate employee training, lack of time, or lack of requested feedback. If you are unsatisfied with your 5S program, evaluate each of these areas and identify where you can make improvements.

A Lean Transformation: Tool Organization

2 min read

Organized Wrenches

Going Lean means implementing a culture of continuous improvement, and constantly try to identify and eliminate the 8 types of waste: defects, waiting time, extra motion, excess inventory, overproduction, extra processing, unnecessary transportation, and unutilized talents. It’s critical in Lean to evaluate all areas in a facility for waste, even less obvious ones. One area you could save time and resources by using the right tools is your toolbox. Often times a box or bucket of tools will lead to a messy, and ultimately inefficient, workspace. There are supplies designed to straighten up your tool area and get back that lost valuable production time; here a few to consider trying out:

Pegboards: Hanging up tools and storing them out in the open will allow employees to quickly grab what the need and replacing a bulky toolbox with wall storage is a great space saver. Different materials and different sizes gives you the options to set up a tool storage area suiting your facility perfect.  Employees will be able to quickly identify a tool’s “home” and will be able to find tools in just a few moments. Having your tools openly displayed will cut down the time of employees rummaging in a toolbox looking for a tool, and it will be easier to identify missing or misplaced tools at the end of a shift. Pegboards will ensure tools are stored properly while also helping to prevent and loss of tools. This can be a huge time saver if an employee doesn’t have to constantly track down tools.

Tool Outline Vinyl: Also called shadow board tape, this type of adhesive are custom cut shapes letting workers know the tool’s “home”. You can utilize this tape on pegboards, cabinets, drawers, toolboxes, and other consider using shadow board tape to create a guide for where the tools go. Set up a logical order to save even more time: store screwdrivers next to each other, have an area specifically for hammers, etc. You’ll eliminate waste of people trying to find the home of a specific tool and in the case of loss or theft, you will be able know exactly what type of tool is missing.

Tool Foam Organizer: Keep using your existing toolbox and give it an organizational makeover with customizable foam. Installing a foam organizer gives you the option to cut out specific shapes, choose contrasting colors to highlight missing tools, and more. Like the tool vinyl, identifying tools will be much easier, and the foam adds an extra layer of protection to fragile or expensive tools. This strategy, similar to the others, requires some assembly but the options really are endless.

Whatever option you decide to go with, all three are highly effective in improving efficiency. It’s important to remember to constantly evaluate the success of your efforts and continue to make improvements.

The 5 Ingredients to Sustaining 5S

3 min read

Implementing a 5S program in a facility takes a lot of hard work and dedication. In most cases, however, companies are willing to put in that effort in order to get the great results they desire. A facility will have buy in from upper management who are willing to provide the financial backing and other support necessary to really get the 5S program off the ground. Once 5S has been implemented, however, the passions often begin to cool and it can become difficult to sustain the benefits that were realized, and push forward for ongoing improvements.

Since one of the S’s in 5S is sustainability, it is important to look at how to sustain the program as a whole. The following 5 ingredients can help ensure your 5S program not only enjoys a successful launch, but also has ongoing success for years to come.


It can be tempting to keep pushing for large and complex changes that might have dramatic results for the facility, but that isn’t always a good idea. These types of major changes do have a place from time to time, but for true sustainability, you’ll want to make sure you’re focusing on steady momentum, which is done by focusing on simple projects.

The vast majority of improvements a facility can enjoy will be simple to find and implement, so don’t make the mistake of overcomplicating things. If, for example, someone presents an idea on how to eliminate a small amount of waste from their one department, implement it as quickly as possible so everyone can see that simple solutions are appreciated and implemented.

Measure Success

One of the best things you can do to ensure a 5S program remains in place is to get it put on people’s performance evaluations. Even when people think there is value to something at work, they will often neglect it if it is not something that they are measured on for their annual review.

Implementing this type of measurement should be done right from the start, so that the upper management is taking action while they are in the early phases and are focused on the new 5S system. Putting it off until after the launch will give them time to lose interest, which could cause problems down the road.


Celebrate Successes

When it comes to eliminating waste in a facility, it doesn’t matter how big or small the elimination is, it should be seen as a major victory. Sometimes it is the smallest changes that can have the largest long term results, so make sure you’re celebrating success at every level. Recognizing the people who contributed to a particular change or improvement, for example, will not only make those individuals feel appreciated, but will also motivate others to take action for improvement as well.

Ongoing Training

While most facilities do a good job of explaining the benefits of 5S and how it works at the beginning, they often end all training after the initial implementation. This can cause a number of difficult problems. To start with, any new employees will be coming in to the situation without knowing what 5S is, or how it is being used in the facility. In addition, even those who were properly trained at first will fall back into bad habits over time if they aren’t constantly reminded of why 5S is important to the facility.

Regular Reviews

Finally, you need to review your progress regularly to ensure you’re not losing momentum. Finding out where improvements were made, and how they were accomplished on a weekly or monthly basis, for example, will help keep the progress going. This type of information should be shared with everyone in the facility, especially management, to help keep them informed of the importance of the 5S program.