Here’s a quick round-up of the most popular posts for 2011 from our blog at 5S Supply:

#5. How to Train Lean Champions to Run Kaizen Events – Part 2

#4. 5S for the Office – Examples

#3. 5S for the Office – Examples II

#2. Finally! A Tool Shadow Board That Works

#1. All about Andon Lights and Andon Signals

Five Predictions for Lean in 2012

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” – Yogi Berra

  1. More culture, less tools – organizations will continue to look beyond the lean tools to building a lean culture.
  2. Healthcare still doesn’t “get it” – lean in healthcare will continue to lag other segments (see #3)
  3. Is Lean Government possible? – government agencies will continue to see the benefits of applying lean principles and adopt it at a quicker pace
  4. What’s next? – companies will try to look beyond lean to see “what’s next” even though they haven’t realized the potential of lean
  5. Getting Back to Basics – mastery and true understanding of the basic tools of lean like Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA), 5 Whys, 5S, etc.

We can check back in a year and see how I did.

Cheers to a great 2012! – Tony

5S Supply’s Year in Review

December 19, 2011

As part of any good hansei (honest reflection) and Hoshin planning we like to look back and share some of our highlights for 2011 at 5S Supply.

Jennifer & Tony at AME

Conference Sponsorship and Exhibiting – This was the first year we ever had a booth at a conference. We were a Silver Level Sponsor for the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) Conference in Dallas, Texas October 25-27. If you missed it, check out our photos on Flickr 5S Supply.

5S Benchmarking Survey – we had hundreds of people participate in the most comprehensive benchmarking survey ever created for 5S. We will have “The Very Best of 5S” report coming out soon.

New Products – we continue to find outstanding new items that will help you on your lean journey. Some of our top new products include: Gauge Range, Mobile Tool Works, and Tru-Tray System.

TPM Blitz DVD – I was honored to help create the newest DVD on Total Productive Maintenance from the Society for Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and the Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME). The TPM Blitz DVD showcases a team as they perform a four-day TPM event in a manufacturing cell.

Social Media – we continued to add to our ever growing lean community with our 5S Supply Facebook page, Twitter account, 5S Supply YouTube channel and more. Join the conversation!

As we move into 2012 we will continue to bring you the best of lean with our products and services. Some things to look forward to include:

Lean Handbook – I am a co-editor of the upcoming “Lean Handbook” from Quality Press with the launch to coincide with the American Society for Quality’s Lean and Six Sigma Conference February 27-28, 2012 in Phoenix Arizona. I will host a session on “The Lean Handbook Journey”.

More new products – We will continue to create and find the best products for you lean implementation. Stay tuned as we continue to add items to our site.

Training – of course we will continue with our ever-popular free webinars. We will also support on-site lean implementation help, training, coaching, kaizen facilitation and consulting. Our mission is to help you on your lean journey; our extensive experience will lead your organization to the next level.

So here’s to a great 2011 and an even better 2012!

All the best,


From Consumer Reports

2011 Annual Car Reliability Survey: Best and worst vehicles by brand

5S That Actually Works

December 5, 2011

Six month ago we did a quick, one-day kaizen event focused on Visual Workplace in two areas of an office – the fax/printing area and the marketing shipping area. The team did a great job of getting things organized and visual with signs, lines, and labels.

Fast forward six months – this time we were going to do a quick 5S training event in a production area. The operations director was doing the training (his first time and he did a great job!) and he had the team go look at the office areas that we did six months earlier because they were close to the training room. I tagged along and couldn’t believe my eyes. The areas were not just as good as six months ago they were even better!

Before Visuals













End of Kaizen Event













Six months after













I asked a couple of the office workers how they did it. This is what they said:

  • “There are about only six people that use this area so it’s easy to keep an eye on it.”
  • “Once we got it organized and labeled, it just maintains itself.”
  • “You just make sure you don’t leave anything in the area.”
  • “It’s easier because we know where everything is and where it belongs.”
  • “We hold each other accountable if anything is out of place.”

One of the customer service reps mentioned that she needed to laminate something and she never used the laminator before. She said it was simple and easy because they posted a “One-Point Lesson” right on the wall by the laminator.

There was some resistance when we first did the labeling – “Everyone knows what that is.” But now, it is self-evident when things are in their right place or not. This has helped tremendously to sustaining and improving the gains achieved!

So see, there may be hope for your 5S system after all!