5S helps companies to maximize efficiency within the workplace. Over the past few months, we have been detailing and highlighting the process and we have come to the last step – sustain. The sustain step ensures that the 5S steps taken up to this point are sustained in the long term. Essentially, it is the constant monitoring and maintaining of 5S training. Training is a very important step in the 5S process and employees need to be reminded of how to uphold 5S standards.
Characteristics of the Sustain step:
- 5S becomes routine and embedded
- Regular monitoring and auditing of 5S
- Training employees on 5S and how to uphold it
- Goal setting and feedback begins
- Encouraging self discipline and monitoring among employees
The Sustain stage of 5S has been called the most difficult because it is the step that is most important to embed within company culture so that it becomes second nature. The most difficult part of this stage of 5S is maintaining open and constant communication about the philosophy.
A very important part of the sustain step is training. Training should not consist of just lectures and passive learning, it is important to immerse employees in the application of 5S and have ongoing training. This will make sure that 5S standards become second nature to the company. Some ways to have ongoing training are to put together modules or change out signage throughout the work place. In addition, marketing materials like newsletters or internal email blasts can be good reminders and training tools.
Some examples of training materials:
- Feedback meetings
- Newsletter/email blasts
- 5S events
Visual queues can be helpful to employees as well. Storyboarding processes or adding posters to their work area will remind them on a daily basis of how 5S should be maintained. Some companies take advantage of before and after photos to show their progress and display their successes.
Take advantage of communication systems that your company already has in place when distributing new information to employees and think of creative ways to keep training an ongoing process.
Finally, feedback is crucial in order for employees to feel like their work is being recognized and to correct wrongs before those wrongs become routine.