The Importance of The Audit Board in Sustaining A First Class 5S Workplace
Lean Managers, who have managed to successfully implement 5S through the chronological steps of Sort – Set in Order – Shine – Standardize, have acknowledged that the last step: Sustain, is the most difficult of all. Let’s have a look at some of the common signs of a failed 5S implementation?
- Sort – After a good start, the project has lost impetus.
- Set in Order – Tools are left on workbenches, Equipment is missing from Shadow Cleaning boards
- Shine – Lack of consistency in cleaning
- Standardize – Operational procedures are not being followed
Why is this happening after all the efforts made to get things into shape?
A lack of monitoring of the 4 steps leads to a false perception that the project is no longer a top priority and other challenges take precedence. The 5S initiative is viewed as a completed project and standards start to slip.
For 5S to become a way of being, rather than a completed project, regular audits need to take place and the resulting discrepancies need to be visible to everyone involved. This will maintain the focus on 5S in the workplace and ensure that the 5S culture is fully engrained now and in the future.
“Without standards, there can be no improvement.” – Taiichi Ohno
What could a 5S Audit Board look like?
Each of the 5S steps has 5 highlighted activities which are to be audited.
For example, in Set in Order, you may have Document Storage. The audit may find that documents are being left on workbenches or other inappropriate places. The Audit finding would be Incorrect location of documents which would bring a probable score of 1. An action would be raised to improve the 5S activity with a named person and target date. The next Audit, the issue has been resolved and the score would improve.
For the score to achieve a top 5, the 5S activity will need to have been sustained for a minimum of 6 months. After this period, we can start to talk about having achieved a successful 5S Culture.
The company overall performance can be clearly seen on the Overview Radar Chart. The overall score per category is marked on the radar chart and a line drawn between points to give an eye catching visual of the current status as per the last audit.
Image clearly shows success in some areas and highlights areas which are struggling.
Benefits of 5S Audits
Regular Audits, and a strong sense of competition between the teams, will help everyone stay on track and keep striving for excellence.
Performing regular 5S audits, using visual management products, creates a type of “huddle board” where the audit findings are immediately turned into visible actions, with responsibilities allocated to specific team members with a target completion date. Everything is clearly visible and this helps to create a culture of sustainable 5S improvements.