The Certification Process in Lean 5S

5S Certification may be as informal as making your own award when your workplace first passes its internal 5S Audit, but it is an important component in having a complete and successful 5S environment.

The purpose of performing 5S Certification is to visibly demonstrate both progress and compliance. This is especially important to make improvements in a large workplace with many employees.

Planning is important: agree on the criteria for awarding a 5S certificate. The criteria should be strict enough that it will require significant effort to achieve certification. If you don't award the certificate the first time – because there still are deficiencies – that will enhance the credibility of the process.

Implementation board

As in prior 5S phases, appointing a team is a necessary step. The people should know the workplace and the 5S goals well, care about the details, and be respected as authorities in the workplace.

Publicize the process and report regularly on the progress. Some ways to do this are:

  • Set up a notice board to indicate progress
    • A "thermometer" rising to show increased compliance
    • A map of the plant, with each area changing to green when it meets the target
    • Show progress in a "Plan-Do-Check-Act" circle for each department
  • Set up a page on your internal website – include as much detail as you want to maintain over time

Design a great diploma and display it prominently. You may want to plan for periodic re-certifications – set aside a place on the diploma for additional annual gold seals, for example.

External consultants are normally not prepared to offer a stand-alone 5S Certification.

However, 5S is a fundamental part of TPM (Total Productive Maintenance). The JIPM (Japan Institute of Plant Management) does offer a "TPM Award" for excellence. If your company pursues TPM, earning this award would be a significant achievement and a clear indication of 5S compliance.

By Oskar Olofsson, author of the book "Succeeding with 5S"

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