How many failed implementations will it take before consultants stop advising clients to start Lean implementation with 5S?
Telling people to start by tidying up their rooms works as well with manufacturing organizations as with teenagers. Try telling a machinist in a job-shop -- who has spent the last 15 years making himself indispensible on a milling machine -- that he should label hand-tool locations to make it easier for somebody else to do his job, and see how far you get.
5S is finishing work that you should undertake once you have changed the mode of operation. In cells, machinists in cells, who run multiple, different machines and rotate between positions need visible locations for tools, and will willingly maintain them.
Yet the following is what keeps getting posted on the web:
"With [...] lean becoming increasingly [...] popular [...], a methodology that is [...] intertwined with lean, yet capable of being a stand-alone culture in itself, is that of ‘5S’. Whether just the first step in a bigger plan to implement lean throughout a business, or simply a cheaper alternative and less daunting efficiency solution for SME manufacturers; 5S would seem to be an ideal starting point."