| Case Studies

Hospital HR Dept. 5S Visual Management

Lean Six Sigma in Hospitals – 5S Visual Management

Details: 5S Implementation

1). This HR department hoarded paper. Like many people the HR Specialists felt the messier their desks the busier they must be. It was cultural! Everyone’s desk looked like these pictures.

2) Once we did the initial 5S blitz, we created a 5S Implementation Schedule for all of HR. This schedule is critical. You cannot expect 5S to just happen. You have to schedule the area, people and then follow-through. (See the 5S Schedule slide)

3) After the physical 5S was in place, we worked on Standardization. Many of you have heard us say, “You need to have a workplace where the layout is conducive to your back-up being able to take over your work if you don’t show up one day.”

4) We ensured each HR Specialist’s office was identical in layout and labeling. We also worked on quick-visuals to reduce searching time. The team thought of color coding files based on the subject. (See the 5S File Color Standards slide)

5) The result is a disciplined and standardized workplace, designed to reduce problems and maintain operational effectiveness.

Lesson Learned

This was the first HR department we had worked with on Lean. It taught us that everyone has a “factory” in their office. This “HR factory” worked on recruiting an effective workforce and other operational processes to retain great people.


5S and Performance Measurement are the glue that keep Lean a way of life in this HR department. Performance Scorecard measures continue to slowly trend up.


Next month we will look at Lean Six Sigma in Patient-Care areas of this Hospital. In 2010 we will turn to applications of Lean Six Sigma in Retail/Distribution.