Lean, supported by 5S, is an important part of a successful Lean Six Sigma deployment and organizational transformation.  Lean Transformation is a productive but long journey. Accurate planning and strategy become paramount as you begin the transformation. With Lean Transformation, while organizations achieve simpler processes, they reach high and sustainable profitability, multi-competence employees working in waste-free processes and a value-oriented business culture.

5S is considered the first step of this whole journey and purpose, and the journey of transformation starts from here. Often practice needs patience and time to evolve into a sustainable discipline after a successful first step. Change in appearance and its continuity are not the most critical in the 5S implementation. The 5S implementation, which has turned into a cultural transformation and a way of doing business, gives the institution the habit of doing business with discipline, care and high-quality standards.

If we look at the 5 steps holistically; Cleaning (Sort) does not only clean work areas from dirt, it is also the habit of doing the work you do clean and free of mistakes. Recovery (Set in Order) is not only getting rid of everything unnecessary around us, but also designing business and processes by avoiding unnecessary details and bureaucracy while doing business. Ordering (Shine), of course, is not just about organizing your workstation or desk and having everything in its place in a defined way, but also that your work and processes are equally well-defined, accurate, simply planned, and predictable.

After these first 3 stages, of course, it will be possible to transform this into a standard way of doing business (Standardize), not only with procedures or processes, but with cultural transformation. Cultural transformation, on the other hand, is possible only by being an example by applying the above 3 principles with determination in all your activities and demanding for their implementation.

The effectiveness and diffusion level of this transformation is related to how much cultural transformation is supported and rewarded. The 5th step, called discipline (Sustain), is precisely the continuity and determination of this support and reward.

All these stages and the 5S culture are not only about the physical condition of your business areas, but also about the evolution of your way of doing business and working habits and gaining a new perspective. Lean transformation takes place from the moment this cultural change is achieved.


Doğan Atik
Master Black Belt