Building a successful 5S team

Building a successful 5S team

three women sitting on white chair in front of table

The most important stage in implementing a 5S in an organisation is choosing a team of people to lead the effort. Having a 5S team ensures a certain level of focus around the 5S implementation process and gives momentum for a group effort to complete the project. The 5S implementation team should consist of a variety of people from different levels of the organisation across different parts:

  • 5S Team Lead/5S Champion
    The 5S team lead or champion will be a key component of the project. He/she will be responsible for creating the 5S team and initiating the base line for the project. He/she will be at the forefront of every meeting and will articulate what is expected from each team member. It is important that the 5S team lead creates a positive culture, so people feel confident to ask questions of what is expected from them.
  • Senior Management
    Having top management buy-in is essential. They may not assume an active role, but their involvement will create a cultural change throughout the organisation which will create essential engagement.
  • Supervisors
    Supervisors are ultimately responsible for over-seeing the majority of changes being incorporated into the business and also to report on whether strategies are being followed. Supervisor involvement is key to ensuring that support is available to implement the 5S changes and they should take ownership in working hard for the success of the project.
  • Safety
    Whether you are or not implementing 6S in the organisation it is important to have a member of the safety team involved in the 5S team. The safety representative can ensure that any process changes or structural changes are compliant with current health and safety legislation.
  • Facilities
    Involving a member of the facilities staff is also essential. Implementing changes to structures and processes as well as inputting new 5S tools throughout the organisation such as floor markings, notice boards, shadow boards, as well as the initial sort stage, involves a huge input from facilities. When a member of the facilities team is involved in 5S implementation their support can be a key factor in getting the aforementioned up and running in a timely manner. Also, having a member of the facilities team understanding why these changes are being made would be important to ensure any changes are carried out efficiently and effectively.
  • HR
    HR professionals’ skills may be utilised to contribute to successful 5S implementation at both a strategic and tactical level. HR can help ensure compliance with employment law while also boosting employee morale and cultivating initiatives towards effective 5S implementation.
  • Front line employees
    Perhaps the most important element in the 5S implementation is the front-line employees. These are the people who will directly feel the changes and so it is of upmost importance to have their input on any decisions been made. By engaging in discussions with front line employees they will be able to identify potential problems and also point out improvement opportunities that top management may not be aware of.

The 5S/6S team should comprise of up to 12 people from all levels and areas of the business. Some team members may not take an active role within the team, but they may act as advisors to the rest of the group. A healthy 5S/6S team will be evident from the team’s attention to detail – by arriving for meetings on time with actions items completed; by engaging in discussions giving good constructive feedback and by being available to assume additional responsibility. A successful 5S/6S team will always be progressing and will be continually improving. If these characteristics are not evident within the team dynamics it may be necessary to rethink the team set- up and structure.