Step 5: Sustain
Sustain, also called Stay the Course, is the final step in the 5S process. Once you have reached this step all of these things have happened:
- Everything has a home
- Everything relevant has a label
- SOP’s are in place
- A system has been put in place to keep the 5S going
- Everything is clean
- All team members (if applicable) understand the system and how it works
Your business has come a long way to get this far and after all of the work you put into the process you need to make sure that it doesn’t go off track. Even if you have systems in place to make sure that everything is reset for the next person, there must be a way to keep everyone accountable so that they are actually doing it. This is the time to enforce all of the systems in play.
Kaizen is an every changing process so if you find that certain things or not working, need improvement or new responsibilities are rolled out, you must keep developing ways to incorporate 5S. There will be team members that think that this is a phase and that it won’t be kept up on. Keep in mind that most people are highly resistant to change and believe that the old ways are better because that is what they are used to doing. Remember that you are putting in 5S because you were lacking organization somewhere so that system or lack thereof really wasn’t working.
Here are some ways to keep the ball rolling:
- Weekly 5s meetings – Assemble a committee of team members who believe in the system and allot them time each week to make a check that all of the systems are in place. Depending on the size of your company it can be based on a single department or the entire office. These reports are then taken to upper management or just allow those team members to take care of the situation. They must also return to see that the corrections have been made.
- Prizes and Contests – When I participated in 5S we found that something as simple as a lunch voucher really motivated team members to stick with it. If a department did not have a violation for an entire week they can get lunch, free drinks or whatever is appropriate.
- Daily Charts– Keep charts with all of the items that need completed and have team members sign off that they completed them. This makes it easier to see who is keeping up with 5S and who is not.
Keep in mind that even if you are a solo business owner you can adapt these principles on a smaller scale. When it is only you it is very easy to fall off track so you need to keep systems in place for yourself as well as the rewards.
If you missed any of the previous steps you can catch up here:
What do you see as a potential struggle of implementing this system? Have you had any successes thus far? Leave me a message in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
Heather Santo is proudly an A Real Change Certified Virtual Assistant with over 15 years of customer service experience via face-to face, telephone and internet. She also spent time in corporate America as a Human Resources Manager performing generalist duties and specializing in recruiting.
She now enjoys using her talents to serve her clients and help them to operate their businesses efficiently.
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