As I tried different ways and failed, I learnt something; we humans are not wired for 5S. Human mind chooses the path of least resistance. If the path of least resistance to throw your tools in a drawer and then hanging it up on a shadow board we will do that. The other thing is a corollary of Parkinsons law. The orginal law says “Work expands to fill time”. Our 5S version of that would “Flat space gathers crap”. Leave a small flat space in the cell, things will find a way to it. This applies to hidden spaces too. The larger your office table the messier it gets. Personally, I found this to be true. I got rid of couple of cabinets, book shelves and document holders from office couple of months ago. Since I do not have any place to hoard my papers, I have been more productive in trying to finish things, instead of letting them wait.
If you really want to make your cells maintain their 5S, design it in such a way where the path of least resistance is where you want your tools to be. Here are some things that we did in one of our kaizens:
1. No more cabinets. Everything inside a cells stays on a open shelf
2. If something needs to stay in a cabinet, use plexiglass cabinets
3. If it’s an assembly cell, have flat space to build the product only. Rest of the tools and jigs should be on holders (It takes a lot of work but worth it)
4. If you have equipments inside the cell, they will have a flat space on top. Build a roof on top of those equipments so that nothing can stay on top
The cell stayed cleaner than most others cell at least until I left that plant. You still need some level discipline to sweep the floors and wipe the equipments every day. The best suggestion that I can offer is to be patient. It takes at least a month to form a habit. Start with one habit at a time. It is easier for you keep track and for the associate to form a habit. There is something that I learnt from my Mom when it’s come to cleanliness. She would yell at me if and when I walk into the house with dirty legs. If you see someone not cleaning, do what my did to me – tough love.