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By Barry Jeffrey, Jan 8 2015 08:08AM

How many organizations try to force in a 5S program and received kickback? Have you ever been in the position of trying to explain why 5S will change the working world for an employee?

If most people that are actively involved with Lean sigma are honest, I think most have at some point. Why should this be, after all 5S can only help the workforce can’t it?

Like most aspects of Lean Sigma, we have to consider culture and understanding how best to explain the tool and how it is best deployed. Reading a book and then going out and implementing 5S really is not the way.

5S will only work if individuals and the workforce as a whole, believe in the process, and buy into the fact that 5S as a tool that is useful to them. This means taking time to explain in detail the reasons why 5S is not only important but also how it can assist people on a day to day basis.

Time needs to be taken to explain that 5S is not simply another phrase for ‘housekeeping’. 5S is far more than that. It should be explained that 5S is really a waste identification and removal tool, and is there to help find waste at a local level.

How many times have you heard, ‘Quick the Big Boss’ is visiting today, give the place a quick 5S!’…….Wrong message.

Time must be made to work locally with the teams as they deploy 5S in their areas. Use live exercises and examples to drive home the message. When the 5S process starts to uncover abnormalities, help people to see this is good, providing and act to improve the situation.

Be careful how audit sheets are used. The way the audit process is executed can ‘make or break’ how a 5S program is perceived. Take time to explain that the score is not the most important box on the sheet. The area of the form that says ‘Opportunities for improvement’ by far is the most useful.

It is not a race. Teams should try and identify just one or two opportunities at a time and work to improve them. Good countermeasures, well implemented will pay dividends. Teams will then see their scores improve over time in a consistent manner. Take time to work with workforce to help them develop ‘open eyes’

5S is a great tool, if explained and implemented correctly. Make sure it is understood in your organization!

By Barry Jeffrey, Oct 28 2014 10:02AM

More than ever it is becoming important for the public sector to achieve bottom line savings by implementing process efficiency savings. Manufacturing organisations have been doing this for many years and still in many cases struggle to survive.

In manufacturing; a 'process' is often relatively simple to understand. Raw materials or components that pass through a number of processes or transformation stages that result in an end product which is ultimately sold to an end customer.

In the public sector, processes are less clear and not so easy to define in specific terms. Staff are still all engaged within a process, but often the start and end points of the process and the various transformation stages and difficult to see. However by using some of the techniques that Lean Sigma has to offer, it is possible to clarify the steps within these processes making them less difficult to understand. Tools like process mapping and spaghetti charts help simplify the complexity, so, like manufacturing; it is possible to identify customers, suppliers, inputs and outputs as well as the steps within each process.

Clearly Lean Sigma cannot be simply transplanted from the manufacturing arena into the public sector, but, consultants and industry experts have started to understand that utilising a sensible methodology it is possible to integrate Lean sigma coupled with a flexible change management programme will yield the most effective results.

Much of the power of Lean Sigma is the effect of cultural change it has on the organisation. Engaging staff and managers at all levels will achieve significant sustainable savings and a ‘can do’ feeling.

On balance, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our Public Services to take advantage of the future financial storm and look to create an opportunity for transformation.

As in the manufacturing world, why not give your people the chance can take you there.

If you are interested in knowing more contact Mentor Masters Ltd