Commonly practiced. Rarely mastered. 5S may seem like a relatively simple and easy tool to be used for organizing the workplace, but it is much more than that. The 5S methodology does not stand alone, but is an important component of the overall lean production or service fulfillment system.
The vast majority of novice lean thinkers fail to develop the deeper understanding to gain long-term, sustained results from their 5S efforts. Our surface-level understanding may be attributed to the failure of most references on the topic to give the topic its due diligence. Complete resources for lean 5S and visual management are few and far between, but fear not, The Lean Book Shop takes all of the guess work out of finding the best 5S books and visual management books to meet your learning needs.
Seminal Visual Management and 5S Books
To grasp the concepts of Lean thinking, I usually recommend starting with the source, as core lessons often become skewed and twisted over time and space. However, when it comes to the topic of 5S books, this can be difficult as there is debate as to the originator of the methodology. Some believe it was Hiroyuki Hirano in his 5S book, 5 Pillars of the Visual Workplace. Others point to Takashi Osada‘s The 5S’s: Five Keys to a Total Quality Environment. Regardless, both 5S books provide a thorough discussion of the topic and are highly recommended. Pre-dating Hirano’s work by 4 years, however is The Visual Factory which goes beyond the 5S framework to stress the importance of information flow via visual channels in the workplace.
Visual Workplace Books by Dr. Gwendolyn Galsworth
For an updated and in many ways a deeper discussion of visual workplace concepts, I also highly recommend the works of Dr. Gwendolyn Galsworth, especially the most recent Visual Workplace / Visual Thinking.