Your 5S Team: The Secret to Boosting Efficiency and Meeting Your Productivity Goals

Whiteboard showing 5S team activity

A strong 5S team creates a firm foundation for peak efficiency and productivity in your company.

Is your company on track to meet its goals this year? If you’re like most companies, you’re probably still struggling to regain your momentum after the upheavals of 2020. You may be looking at what you can cut, add, or tweak to ensure that this year is a success. 

The good news is, as a 5S-practicing company, you have what you need to end the year on a high note. 5S employs many tools that can help you get back on track, but none are more essential to sustainable success than the 5S team.

The 5S team is directly responsible for fostering a company culture that champions continuous improvement.

Members of the 5S team serve as examples for 5S standards. They are guides for the 5S process and ensure employees receive valuable 5S training.

Benefits of the 5S Team

More specifically, the 5S team:

  • Drives: It provides the momentum for and supports 5S implementation.
  • Teaches: It educates and coaches employees.
  • Sets the bar: It sets 5S standards across the company and coaches along the way.
  • Provides checks and balances: It supports 5S audit activity.
  • Defines: It helps to define 5S materials (for 5S training, implementation, and maintenance).
  • Amplifies: It helps to communicate (and celebrate!) 5S progress.

The 5S team plays a vital role in the effectiveness of your 5S initiative. So, strengthening your 5S team means strengthening your company.

How do you assess how well your 5S team is functioning? Consider these questions:

  • Is your 5S team actively working to maintain forward momentum and progress in the company? 
  • Is your workforce well-informed of 5S standards and processes? 
  • Are employees engaged in paths toward continuous improvement?

If your answer to any of these questions is a no, don’t worry! You’re not alone.

A recent survey of 5S-practicing companies shows that many of them put 5S on the back-burner this past year. Yet our report also shows that 5S practices specifically address the issues brought up by our recent crisis by focusing on eliminating waste and doing more with less.

5S Team Motivation

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By revitalizing your 5S program and strengthening your 5S team, you will be on track to end the year by meeting or exceeding your goals.

Your 5S initiative could be struggling right now for many reasons. Maybe there is no enforced strategy for assigning responsibilities, resources, or timelines. Or all the tasks required to sustain 5S have been placed on the shoulders of the 5S lead. Maybe employees haven’t bought into the 5S standards because the 5S team has not set up a system of accountability. 

Whatever the reason, our 5S team implementation guide can help you shore up points of weakness and revive your 5S program.

Use these tips to strengthen your 5S team:

Divide up team responsibilities

The 5S program is too complex for one person to implement and sustain. If you are not sure how to break up the responsibilities, consider using S.O.A.R. to know what to focus on.

Using SOAR with 5S

Give your 5S team a facelift

Avoid talent waste by recruiting new members regularly. New members offer fresh perspectives, and changing out the members brings more people on board with the 5S standards. Ensuring that employees feel valued and involved empowers them to make meaningful change.

Your 5S team should consist of employees from all areas affected by 5S implementation. Including people from all aspects of the workplace helps ensure communication and maintenance of 5S standards across the board. It also helps to generate buy-in and support.

The 5S lead oversees the entire 5S initiative, but also be sure to include representatives from:

  • Safety, to ensure that safety is always at the forefront of changes being made.
  • Facilities, to support equipment movement, painting walls and equipment, hanging signage from ceilings, floor prep, etc.
  • Department managers, to keep departments engaged by making 5S part of the daily routine.
  • Group leads, to hold department members accountable and lead by example by practicing 5S daily – vital to 5S success!
  • Front line workers, to ensure they have a voice and are involved, which helps to build support for the 5S initiative.
  • Human Resources, to ensure the onboarding process includes 5S training and to support company-wide behavioral change.

When you are recruiting people for the 5S team, explain why you chose them out of all the other choices. Take time to explain the goals of 5S and how it will benefit them and their coworkers. Treat the project seriously so they understand its importance, and let them know that they will share the workload with the other members of the team.

Conduct a baseline 5S audit

Get a good picture of your company at this moment so that you can identify areas of weakness and accurately measure improvement. The purpose here is not to get people in trouble. Rather, focus on how things can be improved. Most importantly, talk to employees and listen to their feedback and ideas. Click here for tips on conducting useful 5S audits

Hold regular team meetings.

A set schedule for team meetings helps to maintain momentum for the 5S initiative. Use the time to discuss what is working, what isn’t, and how it can be improved. Be sure to follow up on action items from the previous meeting to hold everyone accountable.

Create or refresh your Team Charter.

A charter sets clear expectations for team members so that everyone is on the same page.

Incorporate team-building activities.

The right activities can increase engagement and build trust between team members. A quick internet search brings up a wealth of ideas for teams of all kinds – small, large, and even remote! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • A scavenger hunt
  • An egg toss challenge
  • A Nerf battle
  • An office trivia game
  • Board games, card games, and video games
  • Out-of-the-office meetups
  • Ice-breaker activities like sharing your bucket lists, “Weekend in a Word,” or “Two Truths and a Lie.”

The 5S team is essential for promoting the cultural mindset shift necessary to create lasting change. Get to work strengthening your 5S team now so that you can make the most of these last two quarters of the year. Your goals are attainable and sustainable, one small improvement at a time.