Things to Do for 5S Success in 2020 [Webinar]


Welcome to 2020 success with The 5S Store’s David Visco

Meet Your 5S Guide

David Visco is the author of 5S Made Easy and the founder of The 5S Store. Today, he is sharing important tips you can use to ensure that implementing and sustaining 5S is a success in your company.

Transcripts from the Webinar, 5S Success in 2020

Download a PDF of the transcripts by clicking here.


(silence). Hello and welcome to today’s webinar. Before we get started, we have a few housekeeping items. First, feel free to submit questions at any time during the presentation. Questions can be submitted using the Q&A button which is located in the black bar at the bottom of your viewing window. Simply click the Q&A button to get a window to open and type your question. We’ll be moderating these questions throughout the session and we’ll select as many as possible to respond to towards the end of the webinar.

If we get many that we cannot cover, then we will respond to them all and send an email to attendees so that you’ll have access to the responses. The hashtag for our webinar today is #5S success, so please feel free to tweet or share your favorite moments from the webinar using this hashtag. The session is being recorded and we will send it to you following the presentation just in case you want to review it or share it with others.

Now let’s get started with our webinar about building 5S success. I’d like to introduce our speaker. David Visco is a 5S expert. Beginning in 1985 David launched his career as a warehouse control manager running a distribution center that managed inventory of over $500 million in value. As he furthered his career, he gained extensive experience across a warehouse, production planning, logistics, and materials management. Using 5S in the workplace, he saw a unique opportunity to create a 5S resource and in 2006 he founded the 5S Store, the first online store dedicated entirely to 5S, which provides a massive range of 5S products, free best practices information, and coaching services to thousands of clients.

In 2015 his first book, 5S Made Easy was published. Today in addition to his role at the 5S Store, he frequently speaks publicly on the topic of 5S practices. Take it away, David.


Thanks, Maribeth and thank you, everybody, for showing up today. I look forward to helping you out in making 5S easier in 2020. Okay, so if there’s one thing that I hear about often when I’m out on the circuit talking to folks and meeting with clients is that they just don’t have enough time for 5S, and for that matter, they don’t have much time to do any other job. They’ve just got a laundry list of things to get done. My response to that is typically, look, 5S is not supposed to be a one-person job. If you remember in your wean training Kaizen, although it has a number of different definitions, the one I like to go by is that its continuous improvement involving everyone. It’s not just you.


Particularly with 5S, it’s not just you. What I suggest folks do is that they divide and conquer, share the wealth, a little. To do that, I’ve got an acronym of SOAR, which is basically a couple of ways that you should share the responsibilities of 5S. There’s a lot of different components of 5S that you can share but these four will really help you out. First, one is supplies. There’s a lot of 5S supplies that you need for your 5S program and I would definitely have somebody else on your team… actually for that matter, you have a team. I hope you have a team because you certainly need a team.

Assuming you have a team and you’re going to spread the wealth, have one of those team members deal with just the supplies. What does that mean? That means making sure that you have red tags on hand, floor markings on hand, maybe 5S posters, anything you need for your particular 5S program. Have somebody else responsible for it. The O in SOAR is open communications. What I mean by that is somebody on your team should be responsible for keeping the meeting minutes of your 5S team meetings, updating of the communication boards throughout the plant, handling the training across your facility and any other part of 5S needs to be communicated. Have somebody else responsible for that, not just you.

Our favorite part of 5S, audit management. Let somebody else deal with that too. Audits, which we’ll talk more about later is an incredibly important part of 5S. There is no need for you, and handle that on your own, and then R in SOAR is red tag process management. Have someone on your team manage the red tags. In a lot of the plans that I go in, I’ll see red tags here and there throughout the facility but quite honestly very few companies ever have any kind of real procedure regarding their red tag processes.

I would suggest having somebody, in particular, manage the red tags, meaning, making sure that the red tag areas are gone through on a regular cadence. I like the idea of having somebody do it once a week, just go through and make sure it’s cleaned up and that there isn’t anything sitting in there for a long length of time. That person would also be responsible for getting those materials moved out of there and on to other folks. As well as managing any red tag challenges that you might run up against. Spread that out. Let other folks help you and I’m sure that you’ll be able to succeed as you go on.

Without a doubt, the number one challenge that I hear from folks is, David, I just can’t sustain. We get through the first three and then we get along to standardizing and we usually do okay there, but we just can’t sustain as harder as we try. We know people are doing their best but we need help. I’ve got several areas here, in particular, to help you sustain. The first one is training. When I go in to help clients, I tell them how about we get a training program in place because a lot of companies don’t have one. They literally just wing it. A simple way of implementing a training program is actually found in my books.

With 5S Made Easy, I set it up as a workbook style so that you can open it up in like a classroom type of setting. Maybe you just handle one chapter a week. If you do it just on a weekly basis they give you enough momentum to make some real strides and to train people in a methodical manner. That works out really well but either way, you want to have a document to procedure for 5S. Who’s getting trained, how often they trained, et cetera, and part of that would be having a checklist so making sure you keep track of who is trained, what they’re trained on, and keep tabs on them and hold them accountable to doing the training that they’re supposed to be doing.

It’s also really important, as I’m sure you know to make sure that folks are involved in 5S Kaizen events. What I’ve seen in multiple places is this justify the best team when there’s a 5S team and they’re the ones that are doing the work. Well, that isn’t how it should be done, right. You need to… when you have a particular Kaizen Blitz in an area, get people from outside of the department to come in and help and make sure on the training checklist that everybody’s included in various events throughout the year. Really important. That’s one way that you get everybody on board.

On that topic of onboarding, I like to have 5S included. When you bring somebody in, a new employee or whatnot, make sure right away like day one that they know 5S is a part of the culture and what you folks do at your plant and then make sure to follow up with them. To that note, I’d mentioned that I liked to have HR on a 5S team because they can help make sure that this is all part of the onboarding process for the folks. Now the great way to sustain is with the use of communication boards, and as I mentioned earlier, it’s a great idea to have somebody in particular own the boards, keeping them updated and whatnot. Make sure they’re updated frequently, standardize them across the plant.

There was one company I was at just a couple of months ago and they must’ve… it was a large plant, but they must have had 20 or 30 boards spread across the plant and some looked great. Others were piggy aired if you will, but the papers on them were yellowed and whatnot and then others look completely different as well. You don’t want that. You need a standard, right, before [inaudible 00:11:34] after all. All your boards should really be standardized.

As far as a particular 5S communication board goes, there’s no one particular way out there. Do whatever you think works for your team. What I found works really well is something similar to what’s on the screen here. Get before and after pictures of the particular area that you’ve tackled. Get a team picture in there and make sure everybody that was involved has a picture. People really enjoy seeing their face up there and then a nice listing of exactly what you did when improvements were made and that’ll go a long way and if you post that throughout your facility people will see, assuming it’s updated regularly, which is the second bullet there, people will see that you’ve got a lot of momentum going in 5S, and you’ll see later on in the presentation how important that is.

Department meetings. Before I went full time with the 5S Store, a company that I was working at, we had a group of about six folks in this particular department and we had weekly staff meetings and as part of those staff meetings, 5S was always a topic. Beyond it just being a topic, we also made sure that we talked about as a team what went well for the week, what areas were challenging for the week. We made sure to capture the good and the bad, but then really important was we had a whole process in place for follow up.

If it went into the meeting minutes and we talked about things that we’re going to work on during the week, the next week we made sure to follow up on them or we’d have a due date that we had assigned to those improvements. We always made sure to follow up on it, which is really important because I have seen at times where action items are given out and then you get together the next week and nobody bothers covering with the action items were and before long you’ve just said that you know that culture that oh, it didn’t really matter in the first place and that’s a huge mistake.

Make sure any action items that are put up there are followed up on and people are held accountable and it’s a simple little form on the slide there. You can see, you can design your own, but that’s certainly something really simple that you could copy and use. 5S audits made easy. Like I said earlier, everybody loves audits, right. Well, I think 5S audits are actually an incredibly useful tool. However, I found over the years, generally speaking, not done properly. The thing I remind folks is to make sure that they’re used as a communication tool. They’re not meant to be used to slap people on the wrists.

I’ll give you an example. This is… I was at a client years ago that you would all know, big company and they asked me to come out there to do a 5S assessment. They wanted to get their hands on how are we doing with our 5S process. So it was great. I flew out there and met with them and whatnot. Spent the day, really long one building. I was all the way at the end of the facility in one department, really clean place too. I go into this one department that’s about half a dozen people working in there and they’re doing their thing and I’m talking to them and asking them how are you doing, how’d you your 5S process? What is it that you do here? What improvements have you made? Et cetera and it was great.

People were talking back and forth. They were really thrilled to show me what they had done and it was really going well. Well then, and I kid you not, you almost kind of heard this music in the background. This [inaudible 00:15:35] where all of a sudden you walk down the aisle and you see this group of people walking with clipboards in their hands and they were probably… I mean this place was huge. They’re probably 80 yards away and they were coming our way.


Well, as they turned into the department, all of the excitement in the department just went cold. Everybody there just button there wipe and didn’t say a word. In this group, which was the 5S team, was led by the 5S champion and they just came in with the clipboards and their audit sheets. Just stormed through the area, opened cabinets and whatnot and turned around and left. They didn’t talk to a single soul. I looked over at the general manager and she just bowed her head in shame. She was disgusted by what we had just witnessed and I’ve seen that type of audit process in place over the years and that just isn’t the point.

The point isn’t so that you could fill out a chart and post it somewhere and track your 5S improvements. That’s not it by a long shot. It’s completely in place so that there is an open line of communication with this methodology that you’ve decided to implement called 5S and to make sure everybody’s on the same page the expectations are set and that we could keep moving towards improving for the better. What I like to see during an audit is whoever’s got the clipboard or whoever is the leader of the audit to manage it such that they go and talk to the folks and they ask how it’s going and they listen, which is a huge skill. Really important skill. It is just listen. Take notes on whatever and ask what is it that I can do to make things better for you is really important.

[inaudible 00:17:37] the communication, everybody’s improvement. I’d also suggest that you have a written procedure about how audits are done. One company I was at recently actually had that. It was very well written. Unfortunately during my tour, I noticed most of the audits that were done throughout the facility world, like four months old. Although they had a procedure, they weren’t keeping them up to date so that goes to the third bullet there, is to make sure there’s a regular cadence.

I’ve seen some companies do it daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Personally, I’m not a fan of daily. Not a full audit any way or quarterly or even monthly. I like a weekly audit because it really helps set the tone. Now I realize sometimes that your facility is so large that doing it weekly may be difficult but you can spread it around three groups like I mentioned earlier. Share it, it doesn’t need to be a one person job, and it should never ever be skipped. One of the mistakes that I see with 5S audits is people just get busy, right. Which we said in the very beginning, everybody’s busy, but here’s the thing. If you’re going to put a 5S process in place and you’re going to be behind it 100% and you want people on board, which I know you do because I hear that that’s a big issue for a lot of folks, they can’t get people involved and they don’t stick to it and it all starts at the beginning of the program.

If you’re sending the wrong message by skipping the audits, people are going to think to themselves, all right, it’s not all that important no matter how busy we get. We’re not going to do them. Well, that’s a big mistake. You always have to do your audits. Always. Another way I’ve seen really successful with helping sustain 5S is what I call a five minute 5S and everybody’s pricing that in the writings over the years. It could be 10, 15 minutes or whatnot but what I implemented years ago was… in a warehouse, I was managing it actually. We broke the entire warehouse into quadrants and we assigned those areas to each person in the group.


Everybody was responsible for a certain area and we allowed time at the end of the shift to do some 5S. That doesn’t just mean sweeping, right. It means replacing any form for tape that might’ve got torn up, maybe doing some set in water that needed to be done just to focus on 5S for about 15 minutes a day. I’m sure they would sweep their area and whatnot but the idea was with a focus on making sure everything was set in order the way you had agreed and making some improvements where need be, and what I would do at the end of the day, every day is I would do a Gemba walk.

I would walk through the warehouse and I’d have these management walk cards or something similar to these and these are just post-its and I’d leave them around throughout the area just so that the team knew that I was actually paying attention. Because I told them we agreed we were going to implement 5S. They knew that they were going to be held accountable and these management walk cards are a great little trick of doing that because they see that you’re actually out there and you’re paying attention. So that’ll work to really keeping the team engaged.

Accountability. I think that’s absolutely huge. You have to hold people accountable and what I’ve discovered is the folks that are the most crucial to doing that about are the group leads or the first line supervisors, they’re the folks that are working most directly with the rest of the people and let’s say the production before. I’ll give you an example. There was a place that I was at, I was touring. It was a loading dock as luck would have it, and a gentleman unloaded a pallet with just a manual pallet jack and he just left the pallet jack about 20 feet away from the area that was clearly set in water by the team at a previous point and that’s where the pallet jack is supposed to be stored. Well, what happened was he unloaded the pallet, put it away and then left pallet jack just sitting there, not where it was meant to be and then he walked into his office to do whatever he needed to do.


Meanwhile, his boss, the group lead of the warehouse saw the whole thing happen, he didn’t do anything about it. I suggest to you that that group lead’s role is incredibly important because if he goes to that person and holds them accountable and says, “Hey we all worked to set the warehouse in order to make our lives easier, more efficient, safer and whatnot. Is there some reason why you didn’t put the pallet jack where we had decided?” He talk to him about it. It shouldn’t be an aggressive discussion. Not in the least. It should be just asking like, why didn’t you do what we had set up and then he might… more than likely he’s going to say, I just didn’t do it and then you got to hold them accountable for that.

Well, the point is that group lead also has to be trained on how to handle those types of situations and that’s really important. Again, why I think HR is an important piece in the 5S team. That group lead needs to lead by example, as does his boss and et cetera. Everybody’s got to lead by example. The second that folks see that it’s okay to break the rule you’ve lost all your momentum. It’s a huge mistake, can set yourself back. I also suggest including 5S as part of your performance reviews, and that could just be a very simple bullet on the performance review that’s just saying this is stuff that you did over the year. I know that you’re engaged with 5S. It’s been great. I’ve seen that you’re reaching out, asking questions and what have you or on the other side of things you haven’t been engaged. You haven’t been going to any Kaizen meetings. You’re not talking about 5S when we’re talking about 5S, that type of thing. They need to be held accountable.

Last but not least. The number one secret to 5S sustainment is momentum. Just like with a water pump like you see here, the idea here is you pump, you pump, you pump. You do all the hard work and then once you’re done and water starts flowing, it’s easy peasy. You don’t have to pump anymore. The same thing with 5S. If you do all the work upfront, and I hear this all the time. You do the first 3S’s, set things in order get them all shined up [inaudible 00:24:44], but then it doesn’t sustain and the reason why is because folks haven’t done a lot of things that I mentioned earlier on sustaining and then what happens is there all falls back down again. You’ve got to start all over again. Nobody likes to start and stop.

Just keep the momentum going. Don’t ever give up, even if it’s just a few minutes a day or even a week, just keep the momentum going. You’ll find success in 5S.


Thanks for those insights, David. We’ve had a number of questions roll in during the webinars. Let’s take the next few minutes to respond to a few of them. Our first question comes in from [Mark 00:25:29] who asks, “Should departments with cutting machines and kitty litter spread about them have at minimum a daily audit or better yet by shifts?”


That’s a great question, Mark. I think by shift would work really well but not a full audit. It wouldn’t need to be an audit whereby every section on the 5S audit form is checked off and scored. I just think it goes back to that group we’d holding people accountable to keeping the place neat and orderly on a daily basis and giving everybody those few minutes to clean up at the end of the day but I wouldn’t do it as a full set audit.


Great. Well here’s a good one for you. How do I know how many 5S supplies to have on hand?


Yeah, that’s a great question. What I like to do is set up a kanban. I don’t know if you folks you’re all involved in [inaudible 00:26:39] know the concept to kanban which is very simple reorder process to set up an area where supplies are always stored and set up kanban levels and cards and whatnot with the vendor name on it and the skew and figure out how many you need on a regular cadence. We put in place once it’s just… there was a poach outside of the area and people would leave the kanban cards behind and the whoever’s responsible for that stuff would order it on a regular basis.

One tip though, don’t walk if 5S supply is up. I’ve been at plants where they’re not only in a room but they’re locked in the cabinet and I think it’s common sense, but that does not help with engagement in the least.


The next question, which I’ve seen a couple of times on our question list here is, who would you suggest that we have on the 5S team?


Another good question. Certainly like I mentioned earlier, I liked the idea of having somebody from human resources involved. I also like having somebody from facilities on the team but I don’t see too often, but someone from facilities can really be helpful. There was one client that we were at down here in Massachusetts whereby the team decided they wanted to not only clean but they wanted to replace the floors and paint the walls and even replace lighting. Having facilities involved helped us put that in place properly. And those people, the facilities group, they kind of have ownership in their minds of the building itself. They got all these folks like marking out stuff and hanging signs and whatnot, having them included really helps get buy in throughout the entire facility.

The more people like that you have on your team, the better and then of course department managers and group leads and certainly people from the floor that are doing the work day in day out.


And our next question is about 5S audits. Who do you suggest conduct those audits? Is it supervisors or outsiders?


Yeah, that’s a common question. You would certainly have whoever on your 5S team is responsible for audits. They would be involved, and they would be conducting the audit, but they would have the supervisor or a group lead with them and then they would go through the area and conduct the audit. I would also have a revolving door of folks from various departments join you on a regular basis and you could set up a simple matrix of everybody in the departments and whatnot, and have somebody join you if you really want it to be on compassing throughout the company. Having different people from different groups join you every once in a while was a really great idea.


And for our next question, here’s a good one. Many of our employees have done their organizing their way for years. Is there an easy way to implement the 5S system to stubborn employees or a way that might at least interest to them?


Well, I would suggest that if they’re doing it their way, then something got skipped during the standardized process. I actually suggest that standardizing is more difficult than sustaining. A lot of people don’t necessarily agree with that but if you… this is a part of the example where standards may not have been put in place appropriately. Let’s assume they have been put in place and people are not doing as suggested. Well, it goes back to a proper audit procedure in holding people accountable.

People cannot… If you have the audit process in place where it’s open communication and you’re getting input from those folks, maybe you need to change the way things were being done before and that’s why they’re doing things their own way. There may be good ideas there and it’s always continuous improvement after all. We have to hold people accountable for the standards that are set and if the standards need to be changed and everybody’s in agreement [inaudible 00:31:15] we change them.


On the screen, you’ll see various ways that you can contact David and the 5S Store directly as well as our social links. We hope that you’ll follow along. Folks, we’re glad you were able to join us for today’s program and we will be following up this webinar with an email link to the recording so you can share it or review it yourself. We hope to hear from you soon. Thanks for attending.


Gina Metallo says

I don't see the Webinar for today on 5S made easy

learn5s says

Hi Gina, thank you for reaching out. You can view it now live on this page or join us on Zoom at this link: Live Webinar

Amanda says

is it possible to get the recoding of today's webinar e-mailed to me so I can re-listen to it ?

learn5s says

Hi Amanda. Thanks for reaching out. You can watch it back here anytime. An email with the recording will also be sent tomorrow morning, if you were registered for the webinar. Thanks again for reaching out!

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