Common Misconception: 5S is Only for Manufacturers

Lean misconceptions, lean is used for everything

It takes an entire business, from the front door to the back loading dock, to maximize customer value while minimizing waste – also known as lean principles.

If you thought 5S lean initiatives was for manufacturing companies only - it’s not - it's for all businesses!

Often the common misconception is that 5S/lean initiatives are only suited for manufacturing processes. If you think about this for a moment, implementing 5S  for just one side of the office or one profession seems like a one-sided operation. To run efficiently, wouldn’t you agree the entire organization should be on the same page?

Various departments throughout an organization need to interact and know about common goals. But if you don’t have the tools to organize your workforce, how can you improve your business? 5S helps you get to the key element – continuous improvement – and without it, raising the quality level is a struggle.

Businesses in all industries and services, ranging from healthcare to the government, use lean to make improvements within their organizations.

So what is lean?

The core philosophy of lean, also known as 5S and the Toyota Production System (TPS), is eliminating waste. Although waste can be easily identified in most workplaces, identifying waste of time and resources is a continual process.

Waste is regarded as non-value-adding operations – such as transport, inventory, motion, defects, waiting, over-processing, and overproduction. Waste never benefits the customer, and through lean principles, waste can be eliminated.

When waste is eliminated, lean creates more value for customers through improved customer service - - resulting in business improvements across the board.

With 5S, you can change the culture of your organization, so it’s easy to tackle and eliminate waste and the six big losses such as:

  • Breakdowns
  • Set-ups and adjustments
  • Small stops
  • Reduced speed
  • Startup rejects
  • Production rejects

Of course, this is just a brief overview of what lean is; there are many misconceptions about what lean is not.

Let’s dive into what the lean process is not:

  1. Lean is not just a tactic or a cost reduction program. Lean changes the culture of your organization and is a business improvement methodology that, when successful, will eliminate waste and improve your workplace.
  2. Lean is not a fad – All of the 5S principles are wildly effective in any organization. That’s why they’re not going anywhere. With strong organizational visuals like Custom Store-Boards ™,  Custom Store-Drawers ™, Custom Site-Boards™, and KPI boards, you can actively use communication to create a more successful workplace.
  3. Lean is not only about cleaning up the workplace – Organization requires deep cleaning, but that’s only one part. Lean has everything to do with increasing productivity, coordinating effective processes, and eliminating waste. Cleaning is just the beginning of being able to recognize places and spaces that need improvements visually.
  4. Lean is not costly and time-consuming – Yes, to implement lean 5S principles, you need to go through each step of sorting, setting in order, shining, standardized clean-up, and sustain the discipline (Read more about the 5S steps here). Still, the entire goal of these steps is to eliminate waste. Waste sucks the life out of time – it’s just not necessary. That’s why lean principles speed up the flow of work, remove delays, and eliminate waste. Time equals money - - and when you can devote it to enhancing the quality of business operations, that’s a smart investment.

Let us help you get on board to maximize the organization at your workplace!