Continual improvement with LEAN & 5S training

By North Star Projects

15 May 2023

North Star Projects continuously looks for ways to improve the skills of their teams internally, whether that be external courses, directorate research materials or simply teaching the training courses that they sell to each of their associates.

In this case, our junior data analyst Ben took our LEAN & 5S course with their in house specialist Danielle Read.

Danielle has had 10 years’ experience as a project manager and LEAN practitioner, the opportunity for Ben to learn internally from customer facing material is a true value add learning experience for his development and shows commitment from North Star Projects on building his knowledge in order to become more effective within his role.

LEAN Knowledge

I had no prior knowledge of what LEAN or 5S meant before this exercise, Danielle took me through an extensive customer-facing PowerPoint that outlined the fundamental basis of the activities involved in this level of thinking.

Lean Management is a methodology to ensure value-adding activities run smoothly and quickly through the process. It is about making processes better, faster and cheaper. After all which customer doesn’t want whatever they buy to be better, faster and cheaper. There were similarities in the thinking that I found familiar having previously been in management at an earlier stage in my working life.

The idea that a system that had been created by Toyota back in the 1950’s had been assimilated across the globe into varying business’s was fascinating and the link between M.C Escher’s early artwork behind perspective garnered my interest even further – Are you sure a floor can’t also be a ceiling, a brilliant reference if anyone wishes to look.

In short, improve process to better the business adds more value to the customer!!

This leads into the 5S side of the training pack.

5S Knowledge and history

There are no world class companies without 5S in place, this is a big statement but when you look at the overall mantra you can see why it makes sense – A place for everything and everything in its place.

Ohno Taiichi (大野耐一, Ōno Taiichi, February 29, 1912 – May 28, 1990) was a Japanese industrial engineer and businessman. He is considered to be the father of the Toyota Production System, which inspired Lean Manufacturing in the U.S.

The waste had been sectioned into eight categories hidden in the word Tim Woods and stand for Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Over production, Over processing, Defects and skills. Danielle then took me through the steps to process the removal of waste.

These steps explained are 5S, 

  • Sort = What do you need to do the job
  • Set in order = Keep needed items in the correct place for the activity
  • Shine = Keep the activity area’s clean, safe and any other kit required to the same standard 
  • Standardise = Conditioning from steps 1 to 3 an example of this is an S.O.P – Very similar to designing a plate of food. You would list the ingredients, weights, tools and plate used for that and then train your team accordingly.
  • Sustain = The art of habit forming, a maintained discipline throughout the organisation, 5S is not individual specific it is companywide, everyone chips in.

With Lean & 5S in mind I can see why it is so important for organisations to focus on the process of continual improvement, to improve processes you must remove waste.

North Star is an accredited trainer and is able to deliver in a variety of methods that best suits your business without impacting operations. Furthermore, we tailor to ensure it has relevant case studies to help embed the training when we finish. 

Courses start at £400pp 

For enquires please contact [email protected]

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