Continuous Improvement blogWorkplace Organisation - Sustain if you want to maintain that gain

If you have read all of the posts in this series up to now, well done. I admire your stamina and fortitude.

Wheel with names of 5S stagesIn this final post on our experience of applying the 5S Workplace Organisation principles, I would like to share with you how we created a system for on-going support and maintenance of the first 4Ss, which are Sort, Set in Order, Shine, and Standardise. The final and fifth S is Sustain.

The first three Ss of 5S Workplace Organisation are straightforward to apply. You clear out the clutter, put things back in a better order, clean up, and voilĂ , job done. The only problem with this, is that if you have not created actual standards and found a way to sustain them, there is a strong likelihood that the office area will return to the way it was before the improvements were made. This is where the fifth S, Sustain, became critical if we were to be successful in our transformation.

We had created Visual Standards which was great, and a real step forward. It also indicated to our visitors what the standards should be and it would become obvious to them if we were not maintaining those standards. The Sustain phase was the final part of the jigsaw to help us maintain the standards we had set for ourselves. So how did we go about ensuring that the standards and the improvements are sustained?

A sign explaining what Workplace Assessment is



In our case, we use a process called Workplace Assessment. It is a series of questions that we ask ourselves on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis as to the current standard of our workplace, including adherence to the 5S principles.

Different members of the team make a quick assessment of the area through a series of guided questions and the results are displayed on a magnetic white board, where green means that everything is being maintained as per the standard, and red means that there is some sort of non-conformance and corrective action is required. Using and maintaining this assessment process, on a regular basis, has been key to sustaining the gains we have made.A whiteboard with red an green magnets to indicate if a check has passed or failed





So use Sustain if you want to maintain the gain!

In conclusion, applying the 5S to our workplace has been a lot of hard work, but it has also been a lot of fun. We have created a far better working environment.

If we can do it, you can do it. Give it a go! Hope you have enjoyed this short series of posts.

If you want to find out more about 5S Workplace Organisation, please get in touch.