Why 5S might not be having the right impact in Food Production and what you can do to change it

5S has become a revolutionary system for many businesses and food production factories. The 5 steps in 5S lay out clearly and easily how to create and maintain a workspace that’s more effective by maximizing efficiency, lowering costs, and creating a product that works for both the business and the consumer.

However, companies can sometimes struggle to see the results they want with 5S. This isn’t because the system doesn’t work – it’s been proven time and time again to have countless benefits – but because of flaws with how the factory uses it.

To make the most of 5S and prevent the same mistakes from happening in your workspace, here’s everything you need to know.

Not understanding 5S

The first flaw in 5S implementation is having a workforce that doesn’t properly understand it and what it can do. From those at the top putting the steps in place, to those at the bottom carrying out every step of production, everyone should have a proper grasp of exactly what 5S is. If they don’t, it simply won’t work.

To prevent this from happening, the first step you should take is to construct a team of employees who will work on implementing 5S throughout the factory. They should be highly trained and have an in-depth knowledge of the system.

This trained team can then go on to train the rest of the staff, and oversee the implementation of 5S. Regular meetings can be held to keep track of progress with staff at every level, and posters can be used as regular reminders using bespoke signage and visual management products.

Managers don't spend enough time on the shop floor

Another reason why 5S can fall apart - or perhaps simply not get quite the results you expected is because those at the top who are managing the system don’t spend enough time in the actual workplace. Your 5S team should regularly be down on the factory floor, engaging with production and other staff. This will help them to better understand where and why the system is needed and identify specific problems that can be solved.

Not implementing every step

One of the key steps to making 5S a success is implementing each and every step. Separately, the steps may be of some use, but they won’t have nearly the same effect as when used together. To prevent this, create a detailed plan of how each step can be applied to your workplace, and ensure you also have plans in place of how you will maintain the system.

Implementing 5S in food production

To give you a better idea of how 5S can be put into practice in food production, here are some key ideas:


  • Red Tagging – Red tags should be made available to all employees. These can be used to mark tools that they consider to be unnecessary. These can then be moved to a separate area that’s out of the way of production. If no one can argue that the item is needed, it can be disposed of.
  • Floor Mapping – Create a map of your current processes, from how information is passed from person to person, to how tools and materials are moved throughout the factory. Have employees pitch better routes and plans that’ll create a more efficient space.
  • Safety Signs and Floor Marking – safety signs and floor marking tape are great tools to minimize risk and create a more efficient space. Use safety signs to warn of hazards, and mark out routes, directions, and danger zones using floor tape.
  • Checking Process – Use a checking process to maintain the 5S system. This is an easy way to ensure everything that should be done is done, such as maintaining equipment or regularly auditing waste in the workspace.

Creating a more efficient and cost-effective food production facility is much easier if you properly follow the 5S system. To find out more about it, take a look at our previous blog.

For advice on which products are the best for your workspace, or to ask any questions about the products mentioned here already, get in touch with our experienced team at Klipspringer.

Posted on 11/12/2018