In Lean methodology, the true nature of success is not based on reaching perfection, but rather on a culture of continuous improvement. Which brings us to the fifth and most crucial aspect of the 5S organizing process: Sustain.
This 5S step may be the most challenging. It’s not terribly complicated to clean out a space and organize it, but keeping it that way is very difficult for most people. Standardizing the space properly really helps this process, but it won’t take you all the way to the finish line. In order to truly complete the 5S process, you must maintain this last and final piece into the future. That means you are never done with 5S – you are simply sustaining the work.
Get Everyone On Board!
There are a number of great ways to do this. If you have performed a 5S process in the entire office, including common areas, then education is a big part of sustaining the work. Make sure that all employees are aware of expectations for where things belong, when they should be replaced and when new supplies should be ordered.
Morning huddles are a great way to review work expectations and are also a perfect time to address 5S needs as well. Encouraging employees to make suggestions for new improvements encourages a culture of continuous improvement, and encourages buy-in and accountability from everyone using the space. If you work alone, have a morning huddle with yourself by simply taking a moment to review your space, consider how you are doing and jot down suggestions for yourself on ways to improve.
Add a Visual Reminder
Checklists are another good way to maintain the work performed during the 5S organizing process. Some people like to put their checklist onto a whiteboard, print it out on paper and laminate or simply hang it on the wall as a reminder of what to review before leaving the office each day.
This can also be done for individual rooms such as a shared kitchen or supply closet.
Here are some of our favorite sample checklist items, fashioned for an individual office:
- Create to-do list for the following day
- Clear computer desktop icons into corresponding folders
- Clear paper clutter on desk into corresponding files
- Take empty beverage cups to kitchen / recycle
- Tidy desk drawer
- Take box of “home” items to car
- Review “to read” file and toss outdated journals and other reading material
- Windex desktop (Fridays)
Allow Time to Get Yourself Organized for the Next Day
Consider putting an alarm into your phone or calendar reminding you to begin packing up ten minutes before you are due to leave so that you can prepare the space for the next day. If you have done 5S with another office worker, perhaps ask them to be an accountability buddy to keep one another motivated to keep it up.
Finally, a big part of the Sustain step in Lean Daily Management is keeping 5S always at the top of your mind. That means making the effort to keep up the work that you have achieved and not letting it snowball into the way it was before you performed 5S.
You have successfully completed the 5S challenge. Please leave a comment below and let us know how it went. We are happy to provide assistance if you need motivation or support. Check out our 5S Business Services page with more information on how we help people implement Lean 5S practices.