Tim Heston reports a conversation with the manager of a low-volume/high-mix fabrication shop who wants to implement Lean, without top management support, and starting with 5S, and it's not working.
Two thirds of the article are not just about 5S but about the tool hoarding behavior of operators. Yes, organizing workstations with commonly used tools makes sense, but, if the manager starts by addressing this head-on, he will have a mutiny on his hands and his bosses won't back him up.
To be successful, changes in tool management policies should be part of more major changes, such as the implementation of SMED on a machine, or the development of a machining cell. Once you have a team of operators who move between stations and rotate positions, then tools naturally become attached to stations rather than individuals.
What should the manager do? I am currently reading Art Byrne's Lean Turnaround, and, maybe, getting his CEO to take a look at it might be a good idea to get him or her on board. Next, he should get better advice getting started than focusing on 5S. Much of the literature recommends it because it looks easy. It's not, and it almost never works as a first step.