5S Auditing Best Practices
Tips to ensure you get the most out of 5S auditing.
Andy Pritchard | December 3, 2022 | 5 min read
A crucial part of Sustain is completing regular 5S Audits.
Audits will help to maintain the gains of your 5S Action Plan to date and also find new ways to make your workstations more efficient, safe, and productive over time.
Audits can be performed in a Gemba walk style format, with members of your 5S committee or management doing floor walks with a structured agenda.
Most companies use a 5S audit form that will score a given workstation on how well it achieves the ideals of Sort, Set in Order, and Shine.
Two crucial components of a 5S audit are consistency and the ability to track results over time.
Ensure that the standards by which your staff and their workstations are measured remain the same from audit to audit. You will find having an audit template with clear scoring criteria invaluable as over time it will help your staff understand what is expected of them, and your auditors focus on what to look for from audit to audit.
You can download spreadsheet and word doc 5S auditing templates here: https://weeverapps.com/free/5s-audit-free-template/
5S Auditing Best Practices
Over the past 10 years, Weever has been on the front lines of helping global Fortune 100 manufacturing companies implement and maintain successful 5S programs. We’ve learned a lot from our clientele over the years and we’re happy to share those lessons here. For example, start with a standardized scoring system to maintain consistent expectation and measure success.
Here are some other best practices to consider:
1. Measure Progress Over Time
Record specific incidents and concerns during audits and analyze and follow up on them during subsequent audits.
Comparing audit scores over time gives your staff tangible results to guide their ongoing efforts and a sense of accomplishment. If an issue identified from a previous audit remains unresolved consider performing a Root Cause Analysis to get the issue fixed.
2. Make Your Audits Collaborative
Any 5S audits should be a collaborative exercise between staff and your auditors. Be sure to get the opinions of your staff on how to improve 5S conditions. Who would know better how to make a workspace more efficient than the people working in them?
3. Avoid “Gotchas”
Avoid using 5S audits as a pretext for disciplining your staff. The view that your audits are used as an excuse for discipline will hurt morale and undermine the momentum of your program. If unsafe or incorrect work behavior is observed during an audit, consider making a note and giving feedback to your staff privately afterwards.
4. Be Constructive and Conversational
If there are areas of improvement you have identified at a given workstation during your audit, offer feedback constructively and conversationally.
Remember to solicit feedback from your staff, and ask what they think, and be sure to offer praise where work conditions have improved or remained in a good state.
Don’t miss opportunities to reinforce the ongoing benefits of 5S to your staff during audits. It’s in every employee's best interest for your facility to be as safe, clean, and productive as possible. This will help maintain your program’s momentum and keep the staff engaged. Afterall, everyone prospers when your plant is productive and profitable.
5. Be Consistent
Schedule your audits at regular intervals, and be sure to reference past audits to maintain continuous improvement efforts and resolve previously identified issues. Make sure that each audit has complete and thorough notes, just in case the auditor changes in between floor walks. This will also help you remember what was discussed in previous audits.
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