June Leading Lean Column

by Jamie Flinchbaugh

My monthly column Leading Lean for Assembly Magazine is now published. This month I focus on the staple of lean implementations, 5S, but I focus on what people are missing as they use this helpful, but often underwhelming tool. Read Planning 5S? First Know Why and share your perspective.

Please check out my main blog page at www.leanblog.org

The RSS feed content you are reading is copyrighted by the author, Mark Graban.

, , , on the author’s copyright.

Please post a comment and join the discussion. Subscribe to get notified about posts daily or weekly.

Jamie Flinchbaugh is a lean advisor, speaker, and author. In addition to co-founding the Lean Learning Center, he has helped build nearly 20 companies as either a co-founder, board member, advisor, or angel investor. These companies range from high-performance motorcycles to SaaS tools for continuous improvement. He has advised over 300 companies around the world in lean transformation, including Intel, Harley-Davidson, Crayola, BMW, and Amazon. Jamie co-authored the popular book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean, and continues to share his experiences as a Contributing Editor forIndustryWeek and as a blogger at JamieFlinchbaugh.com. He holds degrees from Lehigh University, University of Michigan, and MIT, and continues to teach and mentor on campus. Jamie is best known for helping to transform how we think about lean from a tools-centric model to one based on principles and behaviors. His passion for lean transformation comes from seeking to unlock the great potential that people possess to build inspiring organizations.

You might also like More from author


  1. Anonymous says

    So what is your opinion of electronic 5S?
    I have tried to find some examples but seems that none exist or at least communicated.

    Some companies implement 5S in the office same as they would implement it on the shop floor and disregard the fact that they should shift their perspective from material and physical tools to information.

    Would like to hear other visitors’ experiences too.


  2. Anonymous says

    Nice article…From my experience of implementing 5S in an office, it was imperative that everyone in the office was held accountable. This was hard initially especially if your boss is not very particular about it(more often due to time constraints and numerous other responsibilities)!! Finally though, everyone in the office was convinced of its benefits.

  3. Jamie Flinchbaugh says

    Electronic 5S should follow the same principles. Just because we have extra disk storage space, we shouldn’t fill it like it was an extra closet. If the tools you need to do your job should be within seconds of your reach, that applies to files and applications too. Structure folders and files so that everyone who needs them can find them easily. And use things like hotbuttons to quickly load the most common applications or files.

    Sure, putting a footprint and label around your stapler is setting a nice example, but it rarely changes the actual performance.

  4. Anonymous says

    I’ve worked many years as an internal lean consultant and the biggest barrier I’ve seen with 5S is related to your point, Jamie, about management. Too many mealy mouthed “supervisors” don’t have the guts to gently remiind one of their employees that the 5S practices aren’t being followed. Too many weak managers out there. They wouldn’t know what to do with the problems that 5S surfaces anyway. Maybe that’s a different article for you to write, because weak ineffective management will screw up any lean efforts that require discipline, such as standard work.

  5. Jamie Flinchbaugh says

    That’s correct. Management and leadership are too different things. Both are very, very important. My July column will focus on leadership (of course its called Leading Lean) but the hard requirements of daily management are just as important and given too little attention. I will be trying to correct that.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.