Benefits of 5S Lean Visual Management

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Benefits of 5S Lean Visual Management

When implementing a 5S lean visual management programme it is often necessary to explain the benefits that it will bring. Sometimes this is necessary to convince stakeholders to approve budgets. Other times it is necessary to help with the change management process – to on board operators with the future state vision.

There are a number of benefits and we will consider them in a few different areas:

People / Safety

Improved safety & ergonomics

This happens because the workplace becomes less cluttered. It becomes easier to identify an out of standard condition that could lead to an accident. Also, with less clutter around a workstation it becomes possible to change the layout to be more ergonomically friendly.

Increased engagement

Operators start to take ownership of their workstations and cells. They take a sense of pride in their workplace and 5S score. It can also promote healthy competition with different areas competing to achieve the best 5S audit score.

Continuous improvement

A 5S lean visual management system can also encourage people to participate and suggest improvement ideas. This also helps improve morale and engagement when a team member can see their idea put into action to improve the processs.


Standard Work

A solid 5S programme also sets a baseline for the standard work. Ideally implemented during the stabilise phase of a lean implementation, 5S sets the standard for housekeeping and cleanliness.

Less defects

In a clean work environment where everything is set in its place, it becomes much easier to spot abnormal conditions. By visually indicating how things should be, the out of standard conditions jump out at you. This is also true with the product being assembled or machined. The errors that could lead to problems at the customer become easier to identify and resolve.


Satisfy customer demand

A factory that uses visual management is far more likely to achieve high delivery performance. If every team member is aware of the current state of production, it becomes far more likely that the team will pull together to resolve any issues that affect shipment.

Quick changeovers

In a manufacturing type environment where machine or tooling changeovers are necessary, 5S and visual management can be used to reduce the set-up times. This can be achieved using checklists and diagrams, colour coding and shadow boards to ensure all the correct tools are available before starting the changeover.

Less downtime

A TPM schedule is a visual control that helps ensure equipment is actively maintained according to a schedule. By keeping on top of the maintenance, it is less likely that the machine will break down and cause delivery problems.


Reduce waste

Standard work sheets and a an operator Takt time/cycle time bar chart are visual management tools that can be used to balance the work elements in a process. They help identify where the bottlenecks are and how they can be re-distributed more evenly.

Improve productivity

By utilising 5S and visual management methods, overall productivity should improve.  Waste will be removed from the process so people can spend more time adding value, doing the work the customer is willing to pay for.

Photo Credit: La.Catholique

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