We are very pleased to announce that our dear friend Dr. Gwendolyn Galsworth latest breakthrough book Work That Makes Sense: Operator-led Visuality has won the prestigious Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award .

Work That Makes Sense is THE book on how to implement, coach, support and sustain visual-inventiveness on the operator-level. The result? A 15% to 30% gain in productivity and a spirited, engaged, and aligned work culture.

Work That Makes Sense is an implementation manual for operators that equip them to lead and build a visual transformation in their own work areas. The book is in eleven chapters across four sections, populated by hundreds of full-color examples of actual visual solutions-and leadership tasks that help define support behaviors for senior leaders and supervisors.

280 pages with 550 full-color photographs and 50 full-color figures & charts.

To help celebrate we are offering 20% of the list regular price.

Regular price $55, Celebration price $44!

5S Supply is your source for Lean Healthcare and we just added three new books to our selection!

  • Leading the Lean Healthcare Journey
  • Sustaining Lean in Healthcare
  • Leveraging Lean in Healthcare

Leading the Lean Healthcare Journey

See how lean is applied in real-world healthcare and hospital situations with case studies and practical information. Written by remarkable change agents from the front lines at Seattle Children’s and other forward-thinking organizations, this book discusses ways to transform key personnel into change agents and engage all staff in a patient-focused culture dedicated to eliminating waste and improving all aspects of quality and care.

Authors: Joan Wellman, Howard Jeffries, Pat Hagan

292 pages


Regular Price: $59.00                      Introductory Price $50.00

Special Offer – combine “Leading the Lean Healthcare Journey” with 5S for Healthcare DVD and save even more!

Leveraging Lean in Healthcare

This book will help to take you out of your comfort zone and provide you with new ways to extend value to your customers. It drives home the importance of the Lean Six Sigma journey. The pursuit of continuous improvement is a journey with no end. Consequently, the opportunities are endless as to what you and your organization can accomplish.

Authors: Charles Protzman, George Mayzell, MD, Joyce Kerpchar

402 pages


Regular Price: $74.00                      Introductory Price $63.00






Sustaining Lean in Healthcare

One of the first books to focus on physician engagement during a Lean effort, Sustaining Lean in Healthcare: Developing and Engaging Physician Leadership explains how to ensure ongoing physician participation long after the consultant leaves. Dr. Michael Nelson, an early adopter of Lean in healthcare, explains how to use these synergistic tools to achieve consistently high levels of quality and clinical care outcomes.

Author: Michael Nelson

148 pages


Regular Price: $59.00                      Introductory Price $50.00


Another Special Offer

Combine the book “On the Mend” with the DVD Thinking Lean at ThedaCare: Strategy Deployment and save over $20!








The other weekend I had the opportunity to replace a worn out deck off of our back door. Now, I’m not such a super lean geek that I think lean 24/7, but there were a few lessons I learned from this project.

Lesson #1 – The power of Plan

Deck - before

Yes, I actually planned a little ahead on this undertaking (and no, I didn’t create an A3 Report). Replacing a deck is not the same as building one from scratch, but there was still a little planning that needed to occur. First, I checked to see if I needed a permit (o.k., actually I had my wife call the village hall). We were fine, no permit needed; we were just replacing the decking and not rebuilding the whole thing. Next, we got a few quotes from some local carpenters that we knew. Hey, I know my limitations, and I knew I couldn’t do the whole thing by myself. I also checked into (o.k., once again I had my wife do this) getting a dumpster so we could haul off all the old boards and scrap. When planning, it is good to call in an expert so I called my brother that just had a deck put in a couple of years ago. He gave me sage advice and had a highly recommended carpenter, Dave. As part of the planning process, I check the local hardware stores for wood and screws. I think I made three trips – not thinking ahead of time that it was pretty much the same each time I went.

Lesson #2 – It takes longer than you think

Deck - after

I was able to convince my wife that I needed to take Friday off of work so I could tear down the old deck and prep it for the rebuild on Saturday. So I think what she heard was that I was taking a “vacation” day. She though that it should only take me a couple of hours, maybe something I could actually do when I got home from work on Friday night instead of taking the day off. Knowing a little better, I convinced her that I needed a little more time (I think she still thought I was taking a “vacation” day). So it took me about half the day, with the other half needed to recuperate.

Lesson #3 – Hire someone that knows what they are doing

On the big day, my brother and carpenter Dave showed up for the big job. We headed over to the lumber yard (my brother has a truck) to pick up the wood. We go to the service desk and told them what we needed, paid for the wood and drove around back to start loading it into the truck. We backed the truck up to the wood shed and Dave started grabbing the wood and inspecting it, looking at it, turning it and declaring “this piece is no good”. Of course to help things move along (we were already behind schedule due to unforeseen circumstances – they were late) I started grabbing wood and looking at it, turning it and declaring “this piece looks good”. I wasn’t really sure what I supposed to look for, but at least I sounded official. So we get back to the house and Dave starts directing me on what we were going to do. Unfortunately for me, I thought he was speaking in code. I would nod my head enthusiastically and say “Sounds good” without really understanding if Dave was even speaking English. So, we get the first piece down o.k. I was able to even drive in the screws without stripping the heads. Then came the second board, it was shaped a little bit like a banana; I think this was one of the ones I picked out. Dave, being the expert said something I think was in English which meant we would have to straighten out the board as we screwed it into the frame. Thank God for hiring an expert. He gave me some sort of directions to move it this way or that and lo and behold we screwed the entire board in straight. Now picture us doing this for 30 more boards.

Lesson #3 – Don’t let things get too bad

O.k. I know our deck was falling apart. The previous owner just painted over the rotted wood to make it look “good enough” when we bought the place. Well, after the winter we had, chunks started to fall out. I’m not talking about little pieces; these pieces were so big that we had to put flower planters over the holes so that our dog wouldn’t fall in. So at the behest of my wife for the safety of our dog, Owen, we had to fix the deck.

Now knowing about Total Productive Maintenance and the like, prevention is much better than a breakdown (literally in this case). But since I didn’t get a chance to do any preventive maintenance on this deck, it was beyond hope. So I am committed with the time and expense that I (I mean we) put into this deck I will make the effort to maintain it.

Lesson #4 – Maybe next time I have to build a deck, I’ll just move to a new place…

CEO does some value-adding

Have you seen the CBS television show “Undercover Boss”? It’s a show where typically the CEO goes ‘undercover’ for a week working with front line employees. The CEO usually wears a disguise so they are not recognized. The show follows them around as they try to do the jobs of the front-line workers. They show them usually bumbling trying to keep up with the “value-adders” (you knew I would have to bring that in sooner or later). At the end of the day the camera crew shows them in their hotel room exhausted and commenting on how their day went. Then it’s off to another location or job for another day (what I haven’t seen was the private corporate jet that ferries them to the next location).

From the show’s CBS website (1), this is how they describe the show –

Each week, UNDERCOVER BOSS follows a different executive as they leave the comfort of their corner office for an undercover mission to examine the inner workings of their companies.  While working alongside their employees, they see the effects that their decisions have on others, where the problems lie within their organizations and get an up-close look at both the good and the bad while discovering the unsung heroes who make their companies run.

Now, honestly I enjoy the show. It is usually heartwarming at the end when the employees get to meet the CEO san disguise. The CEO usually gives them some sort of award (a trip, money to pay for something important, a promotion and so on). Then the company has a big meeting where the CEO shows what he/she learned and what they did during the week. They typically say that they learned a lot and are going to change some of the policies or practices that are getting in the way of work (read: value adding).

So now I have to say this would never have to happen in a good lean company. The CEO, Vice Presidents and all the management should be at gemba (the place where actual work happens) often enough that the employees would recognize them. Shame on the company where people wouldn’t know who is running the company even if they ran into them. The revelations that occur to the CEOs on the television show should never have to occur in a lean organization. They shouldn’t be surprised by their employees’ actions.

Do you think a T.V. show that shows lean CEOs at gemba would get the same ratings? Probably not. One can hope.


  1. http://www.cbs.com/primetime/undercover_boss/about/


I would like to thank all those who participated in our first ever 5S Benchmarking survey; we had over 300 respondents. This one-of-a-kind survey will shed some light on our collective 5S practices. We look forward to sharing the results and best practices discovered soon.

I would also like to thank the many people and groups that helped us develop and communicate the survey including:

  • Chris Abrey, Northstar Aerospace
  • John Calabrese, Arizona MEP
  • Gwendolyn Galsworth, QMI:Visual-Lean Institute
  • Lela Glikes, GBMP
  • Jim Godfrey, Arizona MEP
  • Bob Hatfield, S&C Electric
  • Carla Konzel, Saint Vincent Health System
  • Rhonda Kovera, Visual Workplace, Inc.
  • Karen Martin, Karen Martin & Associates
  • Tim McMahon,  A Lean Journey
  • Mark Sattler, ProMedica Laboratories
  • Bonnie Rashleigh, ProMedica Laboratories
  • Beth Reid, Northrop-Grumman
  • Dave Visco, The 5S Store

Without the help of these people and their organizations, we would have never been able to make this 5S Benchmarking Survey a success.

If you didn’t get a chance to participate this time, stay tuned because we may do this again in the future!

– Tony

At 5S Supply we are always looking for unique and innovative items that make your lean implementation easier, faster and better. Our new Flex-Craft Modular Building System fits the bill. Create customized solutions for your material handling, workstation, cells, kanban/supermarkets, point-of-use-storage and other Lean projects. http://vimeo.com/25830216

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Example of A Flex-Craft Modular Assembly

The Flex Craft Tubing is a 16 gauge steel 1” square tube with 5/16” holes punched on all four sides. The holes start ½” from the end of the tube and are spaced at 1” increments throughout the length of the tube. The tubing is available in precut lengths (6” increments). This enables you to standardize sizes without the need for cutting and offers the ability to recycle old projects into new ideas. The Flex Craft Tube is powder coated for a durable finish. The stock colors are ideal for 5S, Visual and color coding systems.

The Intro Kit starts at $999.00 and comes in eight different colors.

For this product currently we accept phone orders only. Please call us toll-free at 888 4 LEAN 5S (888-453-2657) for more information.