5S Benchmarking Survey Preview

April 18, 2011

I am excited to talk about our upcoming 5S Benchmarking Survey. We hope that this will be the largest, most comprehensive study of 5S results ever created. The survey will be live starting May 1, 2011. We hope to get as many participants as possible.

Why a 5S Benchmarking Survey?

There are different views out there whether benchmarking has any value or should be done at all. I understand that and won’t delve into that discussion here. Let’s just say, I would like to see this 5S benchmarking survey add value for the participants and the lean community in general.

There are a handful of lean benchmarking surveys available. I’ve noticed that there are two main problems with them: 1) they cost money ($$$) to get the results or 2) it is a consulting firm that just wants to use the information internally. This is not one of those surveys; this survey is for you. This survey is a way to share best practices and be able to learn from your peers. 

5S seems to be one of those things in lean that people have a hard time doing. 5S is simple; getting people to do it is hard. I also have found that there are a wide variety of results regarding 5S. Worse yet, some people have a difficult time determining if they have had any level of success. When people apply other lean principles like quick changeover or standardized work, it is much easier to show real, tangible results (both quantitative and qualitative) in time or dollar savings. This survey will help us understand the benefits of 5S.

Many people agree that 5S is an integral part of becoming a lean organization. There are debates to the merit of focusing on 5S first or at all. To me, 5S goes far beyond the actual 5S principles of Sort, Set-in-order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. It sets the baseline for other enablers to create robust lean thinking including teamwork, discipline and improvement.

The Survey

We tried to look at it from the practitioners’ point-of-view. What would you want to know about other 5S programs so you could see where you could or needed to improve? The survey will be about 50 questions in length and will take about a half hour to complete. I understand that this is a big time commitment, but I think it is well worth it. Anyone that completes the survey can request a customized report that will show their rankings compared to others.

 The survey will be live the month of May. We hope to have enough participants so that the results are meaningful. We don’t want to leave the survey open too long because we want to analyze the data and prepare the results.

The Results

We will pour through the data gathered and create an informative report. This may take a little while so please be patient. We will share our findings with anyone that is interested. This is just a small way to give back to the lean community.


We hope you decide to participate and spread the word. The survey will be on our website soon and please feel free to forward a link to colleagues or lean thinkers in other organizations and industries. If you use Facebook, LinkedIn, have a blog or twitter we would appreciate the help extending the news.

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