The 5s: Run Your Business Smoothly—Just Like an iPhone

Lorenzo Del Marmol

December 3, 2014

5S Lean Six Sigma Belgium

The 5 S To Run Your Business Smoothly—Just Like an iPhone

In Lean Management and other process improvement methodologies, you can find a ton of buzzwords that help managers and executives navigate the jargon and intricate set of tips and tricks to manage an efficient and effective company.

One of these jargon sets is the 5s, which deals with Lean processes. Essentially, Lean wants to eliminate waste and improve fluidity in your business processes to the end of the following benefits:

  • Waste reduction. Since the main function of any Lean process is to cut down on all the unnecessary parts of your business process, the first benefit is that you reduce your waste. This means that you aren’t bleeding resources and you’re using every bit to improve your business.
  • Improve productivity. The 5s structures your processes into a chain that shortens lead times and lets you operate your factory or plant with optimal capacity that makes your equipment last longer and better. With optimal pull and flow, your workload moves at the fastest pace without overtaxing your resources—raising productivity.
  • Develops momentum for continuous improvement. When you start something like 5s, Kaizen Events, Lean or Six Sigma in your business, you’re building a culture of process improvement throughout your whole organization. You have to start somewhere—and the 5s’ is a great Launchpad. With this, your team can adopt new practices as time goes by.
  • Your employees get a sense of ownership and responsibility for their work.The 5s’ are easy to do and document. Since change happens immediately and drastically, your employees see the immediately payoff for their hard work and are motivated by the positive change. When the better stats and numbers roll in thanks to their hard work with the new rules, they feel that they are a more productive team.
  • Improved safety. Since you eliminate waste and extras from your organization, there is less risk. If you apply this to an actual supply chain, you’ll be surprised to find that you have lesser issues with safety since you’ve simply removed more of the instances where these can happen.

So what are the 5s’ for implementing Lean Management and how can we compare it with an iPhone experience?

Sort: One pile of things that are necessary and things that can be thrown out is a good place to start. From there, you can further sort out the things you do need to keep in your business and the ones you can ditch.

Straighten: Arrange items that are needed so that they are ready and easy to use. Clearly identify locations for all items so that anyone can find them and return them once the task is completed. When you’ve set all items in designated places, the time spent finding them evaporates and you raise your productivity.

Shine: Cleaning is important as it’s what helps you maintain your Lean Management initiatives.

Standardize: This can only be achieved after some time since you’re feeling out optimal levels and setting goals and expectations for your team. But when you’ve agreed on a standard, don’t forget to review it from time to time and see if it can be further improved.

Sustain: Keep to the rules to maintain the standard and continue to improve every day.

In the end, 5s’ are just guideposts to helping companies cut down on excess in their organization that is more detriment than help to their processes. I you compare it to an iPhone you can clearly say that all the unnecessary things are thrown away (sort); that every location is arranged and ready to use (straighten); design is clean and lean (shine); it’s a highly profitable and standardized product that is regularly improved (standardize and sustain).

Please share this insight to inspire operational excellence and customer satisfaction in every organisation. It’s free like this ad free article. Thank you :-)


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