98% of all 5S programs are dead within 6 months


  1. 5s was seen at another organisation and “copied” the tool was copied and not the system of improvement.
  2. 5s was implemented via step 1 clean up and became “cleaning” at step 3, at which point people lost interest.
  3. 5s was introduced to improve the business in isolation- it had no “purpose”.
  4. External bodies “trained” the front line staff in 5s, handed out certificates, claimed benefits and walked away.
  5. 5s improved what it had to but the was no “next steps” teams did not know how to build on gains made.

How do you breathe life into 5s?

  1. Implement systems of improvement and use 5s to stabilise your process
  2. 5s is a great problem solving tool, set its goals, develop its improvement systems and use steps 1, 2 and 3 to develop the process.
  3. Give 5s is a purpose, continually challenge targets, recalibrate improvements, and involve people.
  4. Make 5s part of work, don’t wait for Friday to tidy up or the third Friday in every month to problem solve- do it all day every day.
  5. Step 5 of 5s is continuous improvement, take the team’s further, use as your building blocks for complex activities such as TPM and Six Sigma.