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27 March 2006             

Does 5S Payoff On The Bottom-Line?

It is hard to argue against cleanliness. But, is there really a bottom-line payoff to 5S? The answer is "Yes-- but, it is difficult to quantify." The reasons for this un-gratifying answer lie in the improvement mechanisms of 5S. 

  •  Visual Control and 5S organize, streamline and cleanup the workplace. But the direct savings are at a micro-level--thousands of small, intermittent  motion and time reductions across many departments and activities. 

  • Five-S increases pride and morale. These are notoriously difficult to measure. Yet, as every military person knows, very real and important. 

  • Finally, other concurrent changes in personnel, processes and procedures may mask the effects of 5S. A recent search for documented 5S savings found nothing. Such articles may exist, but they are not widely disseminated. 

I believe that 5S IS valuable although it may not be the first priority on a Lean journey. Lean Implementation discusses priorities and how to plan an implementation from fundamental factors rather than from cloning or a pre-determined formula.

If you decide that the time is right for 5S in your plant, we have a new article on The Basics of Five-S and Visual Control. We can also provide training for managers and workers.  We also offer a 5S Training Kits for your own program. 

All the best from the Strategos team.

Quarterman Lee

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