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Here is a general schedule of preparation for a 5S:

  • Form a team and outline the area to be addressed.
  • Plan for an “open house” once the 5S is to be completed.
  • Measure the current state (use the 5S Assessment Templates, take before photos, or gather data if needed).
  • Plan the approach – decide best time to conduct the 5S based on work flow/volume, etc.
  • Pull supplies together (labels, markers, cameras, cleaning products, etc.)

In terms of soft skills, the main thing that will help is involvement. If people have a say in what happens to their work area, then they will have a sense of ownership. Ownership is always more powerful than “buy-in.”

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner at For over 25 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.