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Case Study: Key Factors That Effect 5S Implementation in the Automotive Industry

Summary: To stay globally competitive, savvy manufacturers adopt lean methodologies, including the 5S tool, to sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain for continuous improvement. Since many stall after the first three steps, researchers looked at the consistency of use of the 5S tool in the U.S. automotive supplier industry, including drivers and inhibitors. Respondents rated their organizations’ alignment with three descriptions for each of the 5S pillars on a five-point scale. Responses showed a significant drop for the “sustain” pillar, covering audits, training, and documenting improvements. Plant size, supplier tier level, presence of collective bargaining units and other factors were not significant, but providing more than eight hours of 5S tool training for nonmanagement line workers was. Results highlight the importance of management commitment, communication, work teams, and effective 5S tool training and implementation for both management and nonmanagement workers. Supplemental tools and data available online.

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  • Topics: Social Responsibility, Benchmarking, Lean, Quality Control
  • Keywords: Automotive industry, Case study, Lean manufacturing, 5 S (visual workplace), Implementation, Management commitment, Employee education & training
  • Author: Kazmierski, Randy
  • Journal: Journal for Quality and Participation