5S ‘discipline’ is a dirty word?

November 28, 2011

Recently I had an epiphany while working on a kaizen event in an area to help introduce 5S. For this group we needed to mention that 5S is not just about cleaning; we wanted to emphasize that 5S is about unleashing teamwork and discipline. Of course, when I say “discipline” I’m not referring to the mean or evil type of discipline like punishment. People may take the wrong connotation with the word ‘discipline’. So let’s ‘shine’ it up (pun intended). I am talking about the discipline we have to put something back in its correct location after we use it. If we can’t instill the discipline of following simple standards for 5S, then how can we master more complex systems like kanban or total productive maintenance?

Then it dawned on me, maybe I should look up other words for discipline. So here’s a list I compiled that may be helpful when trying to describe the traits we are trying to instill with 5S.

  • agreement
  • arrange
  • control
  • correct
  • determination
  • influence
  • manage
  • mastery
  • order
  • organize
  • plan
  • prepare
  • regulate
  • self-control
  • strength of mind
  • under control
  • will

Since the concepts of 5S are easy, but getting people to follow the system may be hard try using some of these synonyms for discipline to effectively communicate what we are trying to accomplish with 5S.

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