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.

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    Jamie Flinchbaugh
    Jamie Flinchbaugh is an accomplished Entrepreneur, Senior Executive, and Board Member with more than 20 years of success spanning finance, manufacturing, automotive, and management consulting. Leveraging extensive operational experience, Jamie is an invaluable asset for a company seeking expert guidance with process improvements, lean strategies, and leadership coaching in order to transform operations, reduce costs, and drive profitability. His areas of expertise include continuous improvement, entrepreneurship, coaching and training, process transformation, business strategy, and organizational design.


    1. Interesting,
      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. 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. 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. 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. 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.


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