By Jon Miller | Post Date: May 18, 2007 1:01 PM | Comments: 5
Thank you Konrad, Ron, Robert, Nancy, Chris, Eric, Jason, Rajdeep and Dee for your thoughtful answers to the question "which of the 5S is hardest and why?"
There was a lot of emphasis in on keeping it going, the 5th S known as sustain, shitsuke, self-discipline or stick-to-it. A number of people also commented on the difficulty of getting started, particulary doing the 1st S properly, sorting or seiri. The difficulty of standardizing 5S between individuals and shifts was also pointed out.
Each of these answers is correct and collectively they add great insight on how to succeed with 5S from the personal experiences of practitioners.
Personally, the 2nd S is the most challenging, because it is deceptively simple. Called set in order, straighten, or seiton, the goal of the 2nd S is to make everything that is left after the 1st (getting rid of items not needed) readily available at the point of use. Many times a shadow board is as far as companies go with seiton. Yet they struggle to sustain. Why?
In Taiichi Ohno's Workplace Management the 2nd S is explained as arranging items for swift retrieval. He used the Japanese characters for seiton to explain that "ton" is the same word used for "tonpuku" or fast-acting medicine. True 2nd S makes items immediate accessible, rather than simply lining them up or arranging them neatly and putting labels and location markers around them.
If 2nd S was done properly, the items would be truly and exactly where people wanted them, making work easier. People would take ownership and defend the location of these items because seiton was a real improvement for them. When "fake" seiton is done it does not sustain because items migrate back to where they are really used or needed.
There is also the problem of gravity. The opposite of swift retrieval is swift return. If it is easier to drop the item or lay it flat on a table than to put it in the "correct point of use storage location" identified by the 5S team, you can bet that gravity will win. People will do what takes least effort. So we need to think harder about how to not fight gravity and how to make it easy to sustain what you set in order.
And last but not least, here is a video announcing the 5S challenge winners! If your name was picked out of the bag, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us where to send your prize, the 5S in A Bag teaching aid.Comments are moderated to filter spam and inappropriate content. There may be a delay before your comment is published.