7 Must-Dos for 5S Success in 2021 [Webinar]

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The pandemic’s disruption in 2020 put a damper on the majority of 5S implementations. In a recent survey by The 5S Store, 56% of respondents said their 5S implementation had been affected by the pandemic, with either “less focus on 5S success” or “the program put on hold.”


As we head into 2021, we have the opportunity to get 5S working well for us again. Join David Visco, author of 5S Made Easy and founder of The 5S Store, as he shares seven must-do actions for 5S Success in 2021.

In this webinar, you will learn these strategies for 5S success:

  • The critical area to focus on in order to start fresh in 2021
  • Keys to baselining your current state and why it is important
  • The role of red-tagging in 2021


This and more will be covered in our training featuring David Visco, the most trusted authority on 5S. Please join us, you’ll be glad you did!


Transcripts from the 7 Must-Dos for 5S Success Webinar

To download a PDF of the transcripts click here.

Maribeth:

(Silence). Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us for today’s Webinar. 7 Must-Dos for 5S Success in 2021. Before we get started, we have a few housekeeping items. The hashtag for the Webinar is #5Ssuccess. So feel free to post any insights using this hashtag on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and be sure to tag us. You can ask questions via the chat or Q&A capability any time during today’s presentation. We’ll attempt to answer all of the questions at the end of the presentation. But if your question isn’t answered today, someone will follow up with a response after the Webinar. This session is being recorded and it will be sent to you following the presentation for your own purposes or to share with others. Now I’d like to introduce you to our speaker.

Maribeth:

David Visco is a 5S expert. Beginning in 1985, David launched his career as a warehouse control manager, running a distribution centre that managed inventory of over $500 million in value. As he furthered his career, he gained extensive experience across warehouse, production planning, logistics, and materials management. Using 5S in the workplace, he saw a unique opportunity and a need for a 5S resource, and in 2006 he founded the 5S Store. The first online store dedicated entirely to 5S. The 5S Store 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 best practices. Take it away, David.

David:

Hey, thanks Maribeth. Hey, everybody. Thank you for coming today. I’m David Visco, founder of the 5S Store and long time 5S practitioner. Today we’re going to help you out, whether you’re trying to kickstart your 5S program or whether you’re looking back at it and saying, “Good God, where did it all go wrong?” And how can we help you? So I got all sorts of ideas for you in that regard. And we’re also going to give you seven must-dos that you could do today, simple activities just to get things going again. All right. So let’s see how this is going. Sorry, having some technical difficulties. There we go. All right. So our agenda today. We’re going to reflect, really look back at where we were last year and where we are now.

David:

Then we’re going to talk about some tips to make 5S easier for you, because people make 5S way more difficult than it needs to be. So I’m hoping to help you out with that. And we’ll give you some tips for everybody’s favorite 5S subject sustaining. After that, towards the end, I’m going to give you the number one tip for a 5S success. All right. So this is interesting. So first off I want you all to cut yourself some slack, right? We just came out of a pandemic. Well, we’re coming out of a pandemic. And it was a tough year for a lot of people. And I’ve been talking to customers regularly. We get on the phone. “How’s your 5S program going?” And everybody’s just, they’re down on themselves. Like, “Oh, geez, we let this slip. We let that slide. We haven’t been doing a good job.” And I’m like, “Good God, man, give yourself a break.” We were in a pandemic last year.

David:

So I’m suggesting everybody just cut yourself some slack. We recently did a State of Lean Survey and you’re going to hear more about that in the coming months. And what we found was over 50% of the companies lost focus on their 5S program. And again, that’s fine. It’s to be expected. We just came out of a pandemic, or through the year everybody’s priorities had to change. All of a sudden we were stuck like, “All right. Am I going to go replace floor tape with my furloughed workforce and demand still being there to some extent. Am I going to try and ship out my widgets?” So priorities shifted, right? So stop beating yourself up. As it turned out for those companies who had 5S in place before the pandemic, we actually found that the standards, especially in shine, helped them reduce exposure to the virus because the place was clean. They had standards in place to keep the place clean on a regular basis.

David:

So it was more orderly. So it was a great thing if you had 5S in place, it certainly helped in that regard. Now we got 2021 in front of us. We could just kiss 2020 goodbye. Start off with a nice fresh clean slate for 5S in 2021. And that’s what we’re looking I’ll help you with today. So one I like to do is to do a retrospective on last year. Sit down and take a hard look at exactly how your 5S program was last year. So first for those of you that are actually 5S leaders and own the program, I suggest you go find a nice quiet space or whatever, sit down and think about, how did you do with your program last year in your role? Are their things that you could have done better? Are the things you did really well? Give yourself a pat on back for what went well, but really do an introspective on how did things go? How did you handle 5S? And then do the same thing with your team. Assuming you have a 5S team.

David:

I’m hoping you do. Get together with the team. Have them do the same thing. Think about what they could have done better, what they did really good job on and whatnot, and then get the team together. Sit down and talk and figure out, “All right, how can we improve in 2021?” Clean slate, right? Start over. And then if you dare, go talk to the executive team, the folks on the corner office. The people that suggested or are watching over you to do 5S in the first place. Get their input. How do they think 5S went last year? What would they like to have seen done better? And while you’re at it, ask them to get more involved too. So the goal is going to be during this time of looking back, what was the state of 5S at the start and the end of 2020? Did you start really strong and then fade as you might’ve with the pandemic and all. But what’d you do good? And why do you think that was the case? Why did you fall behind? Try and learn from it, right? Its continuous improvement after all.

David:

So the whole idea there is that we keep trying to make improvements and we keep track of how we’re doing. Then we fix things, and we adjust. No judgment, right? It’s a no judgment zone. There should be no judgment here. It’s all about just trying to improve as you go along. But you want to really take note of what was going well and what wasn’t. Next. I suggest doing a baseline audit. Everybody loves audits, right? But whatever your process is today for doing 5S Audits, get the team together and go out and do an audit of the entire plant with your current process. So give yourself a baseline as to where you are today, right? Because you need a baseline so that you can set new expectations, new standards. It started here, this is where you want to be. So compare where you are now, compared to where you were before the pandemic, just to give yourself some perspective. And from there, take a look at your methods in your auditing. How was it going? The audit itself, not the scores, but the process for your audits.

David:

Dig through that process. Figure out if you were doing it as effectively as you could have been. Summarize your findings and then communicate it. The whole idea with 5S after all isn’t to put a nice pretty chart up on a wall or on a whiteboard. Isn’t to stand up there quarterly during a staff meeting or whatnot and say, “Hey, our 5S score improved from a whatever, an 80 to a 90.” That isn’t the point. The point of 5S Audits after all are to improve the line of communication. Give yourselves opportunities for leaders and managers, supervisors, and the staff and the workers to actually talk, right? It’s supposed to be two way street. That’s the whole idea behind the audits in the first place. You make sure that that is what was going on with your audits in the past. What I find is a lot of companies, they don’t even have a 5S Audit process documented, which is not a great idea, because how are you going to measure it?

David:

You want to make sure you have it documented and reviewed regularly so that you can keep improving and whatnot. It makes it easier to train people on, pass it down. So make sure your 5S Audit process is documented. Something else I continue to push, I spoke to this a lot last year, was on the 5S team, divvy up the responsibilities across the team. So maybe there’s five people on your team. Give one of those people the responsibility of owning the audit process. It doesn’t all have to be on the 5S lead. Somebody in the team can take that part. And that helps the lead quite a bit. Takes a lot of stress off there too. So your goals there as far as doing this baseline audit is to really see where you’re at. Was everything executed properly, as far as your audits go? Were they on the right cadence? So you’re doing them weekly, monthly. I have some clients that only do it annually. That to me seems to be pretty ineffective. And then again others do it daily, which I think is too much. But every place finds their own cadence.

David:

So figure out what the cadence should be for yours, and make sure that they were having the impact that they were supposed to have in the first place. If they weren’t, figuring out why. Dive into it, make the improvements. Focus on communication. Oh my. This is a big piece that I think gets missed quite often. Now that you’ve done the audits and you’ve sat with the team and you’ve looked at how things went last year, which you can do better and whatnot, you’ve got a foundation in place that you can then go communicate out to the plant and let people know what’s coming. You have to communicate. It’s so important. Research actually shows that people will take what’s familiar to them and they’ll work with it and they’ll move towards it. As opposed to the fear that ensues when something is new to them or they don’t understand, or they don’t know, right? The unfamiliar stuff is what puts fear in people.

David:

There’s actually something called the mirror exposure effect, which is, as people see things 10 to 20 times, they really start to encompass it and get their hands around it and start to follow it and understand it. It takes a lot of different effort and communication to get this to settle in. And it’s got to be multiple ways, audio, visual, et cetera. Not just, you put a chart up on a communication board once a month and you expect people to see it. It’s incredibly important to communicate this out to everybody. So review your current 5S communication plan. Do you even have one? Some folks, again, just stick with the chart on a wall. That really isn’t sufficient. Revise or develop a plan, right? Again, make it documented. Make it something somebody owns. Assign it to somebody on the 5S team. So one person should be responsible for communicating everything about your 5S program.

David:

Make sure everybody knows. How often are you doing audits? How are things going? Who’s really doing a great job with 5S? Updating the communication boards with the before and after pictures and pictures of the team. You want to put all that stuff in place. Make sure you’re communicating to everybody how it’s going. While you’re at it, why not have some fun? These days everybody’s got a cell phone on them. You can do a video, do a quick live video around your plant as you go out you happen to see something really good going on in 5S, or do you want to go celebrate a team’s victory, maybe there’s an area that used to be a real scary place and now it looks amazing. Have fun with that. Take pictures, take video, maybe have a 5S party. It doesn’t all have to be just checking the box. You might as well enjoy yourself while you’re at it. So what are you going to do and why? You need to communicate that to folks.

David:

What is it that you’re going to do now that the new year is here to re-launch your 5S program. Make sure you tie it back to all the insights that you gathered on the previous steps. Take it from there, document it, set up your goals, your milestones or responsibilities. Make sure everybody has a piece. Make sure everybody’s vested. As you go along and you improve the process, make sure you update all your documentation. Make sure everybody knows what’s going on. I find too many times 5S leads and whatever, they just keep it in their own little bubble. Then they wonder why it doesn’t sustain and why people aren’t on board. Get everybody involved. Lose the clutter. It’s the fourth step that I’m suggesting you do. Pretty easy to do. And what better process than the red tag process to do this. As we’ve been doing throughout this Webinar here, evaluate the process.

David:

How was your red tag program going in the past? Was it going really well? Were people filling out tags? Was the red tag area overflowing with junk for months, and months, and month to the extent where it’s all dust-laden. I find that happens a lot. Build and document out a new plan. Maybe you didn’t have it documented, as I’ve said in the past, document it out. Then communicate that plan to folks. So you’re going to do a red tag event, maybe quarterly. But make sure everybody in the plant knows where the red tag areas are, for example. One suggestion I would have is that depending on the size of the facility have multiple red tag areas and make sure its always right tags handy. And you want to make sure that you remind people why you doing red tagging in the first place, right? What’s the why? What’s the reason? Get them behind it, the reason you’re doing red tags, or red tagging, or sorting, or whatever you want to call it, is to keep the area free of clutter.

David:

It helps improve safety. As you free up floor space it might help you open up new space for new equipment to come in. To build more widgets for the company to grow. It just makes the area so much better to work in too, right? Another idea would be to have a red tag day. So because of the pandemic, maybe you haven’t done much sorting and the places is falling part a little bit, bring in some pizza, have some fun, crank up the tunes. You might as well have some fun with it all. Have a red tag day. And maybe you can even donate products and whatever it is that you have leftover that wind up in the red tag area that you’re not going to keep. You can either give them to employees or find a local charity or whatnot to give it to, but you can really do some really great stuff with them. As a matter of fact.

David:

To help you in that regard, we’re actually going to have a program, a special for you for attending the Webinar where you could get 20% off of all the red tag items with the 5S store. So there’s no minimum. Just go to the website and use the code: 20OffRedTag and save 20%, why not. Have at it. Do a refresh blitz. Everybody likes the word blitz in 5S and Kaizen. Kaizen blitz. Let’s do a blitz of our floor tape. Sit there and take a look at your floor marking program. Do you actually have standards in place and whatnot. See how it’s working for you. Remove all your worn tape. Every place I go into has old 5S tape lying around. So remove it. Figure out if it’s needed or not. And install new tape in new floor signs wherever you need it. Make sure that you have standards like the color guidelines on the screen there. Those will really help you, and you really need to have those standards anyway. It’s the fourth best bite after all.

David:

Create a standardized five best materials worksheets that everybody in the plant knows. Where to get their materials from. Which tape you’re using for certain areas. What color you’re going to use. Are you going to use two-inch DuraStripe Supreme, or are you going to use Vestmark tape or maybe just cheap vinyl tape. But you want to make sure you have a standard list of all of your floor marking materials, so that everybody knows where to get it and what items in particular to use. And then set up a Materials Kanban. I think that really is handy. There were some companies I’ve worked at where we set up shelving of all the 5S materials that we needed. The team put together the wrong Kanban cards. And we just had a little bin handy. So as they got low to whatever rate we set it at. Once a week the purchasing folks would come by and scoop up the cards.

David:

We never run out of materials, because if there’s one thing that’ll stop you fast at 5S is running out of materials when people are actually anxious to go use them. So you always want to make sure you don’t run out for Kanban at work for that of course. Some folks have challenges laying floor tape down and what have you. So we do have a floor taping guide, which also give you tips for installation, tell you what type of tape you should use depending on your environment and whatnot. A lot of really good stuff there. You can find that on the learn tab of the 5S store. Shine for safety. So there’s a whole new set of standards today, right? Review your shine standards. So because of the pandemic, I think it really turned shine on its head. Previously, the way I define shine was that it was used to clean to inspect. It wasn’t just about mopping up and cleaning equipment.

David:

Think of this, you have a piece of equipment that’s all grungy dirty. It’s been there forever. It’s filthy rotten. It could be leaking a lot, you don’t even know. Once you clean that baby up and you paint it and whatnot, then when there’s a leak, you’ll be able to see that leak, right? You’ll know there’s an issue to be addressed. That’s how I think of Shine. Well now the old standards for cleanliness may have changed because of the pandemic. Maybe you want to add cleaning stations. Tool shadow boards of mops and wipes and masks and what have you. Make sure everybody’s trained. It’s super important to make sure you communicate that out to everyone in the plant, everybody knows. Communicate it often. You also might want to think about… We have a free download on our 5S Blackboard site. On the resources tab it’s a 5S maintenance chart, which makes it real easy to keep track of what needs to be cleaned and who owns what, who’s responsible for what.

David:

Last but not least, one of the great easy tips is to make it easy. That’s why I named my book, 5S Made Easy. You want to make 5S easy. What I find is so many people over complicate it. It doesn’t have to be that way. Small improvements every day. You don’t have to move a mountain. Just make small improvements every day. Share the love, spread it around. Make sure everybody is active in your 5S program. Like the areas in the quadrants. One area where that works particularly well is in a warehouse. Let’s say you have 20 hours in the warehouse, give everybody a couple of hours they’re responsible for. Then do quick five minute audits at the end of the day, randomly. But as the owner of the area, just go by and do a real quick checklist.

David:

Make sure people are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. And if not, talk to them, communicate. Find out, maybe they need support. There could be a whole bunch of reasons. But don’t just go hide near in your office if something isn’t right. Talk to them. You just do it a couple of minutes every day. Make sure you give your team 10 or 15 minutes at the end of the day to do what you want them to do. You can even use our management walk cards. Those are really pretty handy, and they make it super easy. They’re posted based. You just leave behind a little note. If they did something really good, you leave the achievement one behind. If an area needs some work, leave the opportunity card behind. Just make it easy on yourself. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated. All righty.

Maribeth:

Thanks David.

David:

Sure.

Maribeth:

Thank you to our viewers for the submitted questions. You still have a couple minutes to get them in. So if you have additional questions, please submit those via the Q&A button at the bottom of your screen. While that’s happening, David I’d like to start with the first question that came up, starts with a comment actually, we’ve had mixed results with audits. If there was one tip that you could give for audit success, what would that be?

David:

Well, that’s a good one. First of all, I’d be curious as to whether or not you actually had a standardized process. So one tip I would suggest is that you have a standardized scoring process. It tends to be subjective. A lot of folks they’ll rank an area on one to five, and that can be very subjective. So why not base it on the number of nonconformances instead. Set up a scoring system like that. We actually have an audit form free download on our site that is based on that type of an item. So I would suggest making sure that you have a standardized way of measuring the data in the first place.

Maribeth:

Thanks David for that. The next question that I’ve seen come in from the audience is about floor tapes. So do you have any tips about helping floor tape stick better to the floor?

David:

Yeah. Well, it’s a common question. What I found is a lot of times people are using the wrong type of tape for their particular floor. For example, a smooth floor need a different type of adhesive than a porous floor. We know which tapes are best for each. So it’s in that tape guide too. So first I tell people, make sure that you’re buying the right tape for your particular conditions. Secondly, you need to make sure to install it properly. What a lot of folks do is they take the tape, they lay down, they press it with their hands or step on it with their foot. And they think that that should be enough.

David:

Well, as it turns out, most of these heavy-duty tapes have pressure sensitive adhesive. So that requires a lot of pressure to be tamped into the tape, where you’re actually pressing the tape into the floor. You can use the rear wheel of a forklift, or we even have a tamper cart or whatnot. But you need to put excessive weight on the tape to press it down. So the two things are, make sure you’re buying the right tape and make sure you’re installing it properly. If you have any questions on that, you could certainly give us a call. Most of it, it’s in the tape floor guide, but we’re happy to talk to you too.

Maribeth:

Thanks for that, David. I wanted to point out to our viewers that the taping guide that David referred to is available free on our website. The link to that guide has been put in the chat for this Webinar, but you can find it in the 5S Blackboard. So I’m going to move on to our next question now. This question came in from our audience and they’re asking about, is video training better than face to face in terms of completing audits? Your thoughts?

David:

Face-to-face is definitely better. Absolutely. Hands down. I mean, if you want boots on the ground whenever you can have it. No doubt about that. I’ve never experienced people doing video audits. So that’s different. I’ve been asked to go out to some sites, and we have that discussion on, should I physically be there or should we just try and do it through Zoom? And we have found that it’s been so much more effective when I can be right there. It’s just completely different where you’re actually to see people and see the area and get the feel for the culture and the feel for what’s going on, as opposed to just trying to get your hands around it with a video. So if you can do, boots on the ground, that’s what I would suggest.

Maribeth:

Great. So we have a viewer online who does not have 5S implemented yet. What they would like to know is, do you have any advice on what the best place for them to start would be?

David:

That’s great. So where to start, first of all, figure out why you want to implement 5S in the first place. You need to start there. There’s been several customers, people that have called me up to come out and give them a hand, and I go up there and by the time I leave I’m basically telling them I wouldn’t even bother. Because they don’t really know why they’re doing it in the first place, or they don’t have the right culture in place. There’s no respect for the people. Is a whole host of reasons why you can take 5S on when you really shouldn’t. So first step before you waste any time on anything, is figuring out why you want to implement it in the first place. Make sure everybody’s grounded on that.

Maribeth:

Great. So that’s all the time we’ll have today for questions. Thank you, David.

David:

Sure.

Maribeth:

I’d like to thank our viewers for submitting their questions. In wrapping up, if you need the point of view of an expert, here’s some resources on the screen that can help you. What you see here is David’s book, 5S Made Easy. We have our free online 5S best practices website called 5S Blackboard. You can access that on the5sstore.com. As always, you can feel free to reach out directly to David. His contact information is on the screen. Any 5S supplies that you might need are available at the5sstore.com. And make sure you take advantage of the special discount that David offered to Webinar attendees today. Use the code: 20OffRedTag to save on items that you need for running a red tag event, not compatible with other promotions or custom items, but still a great discount. Thank you so much for joining us today.

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