Domestic furniture manufacturers are standing around going ummm, ummm, ummm, while overseas competition builds an ever increasing market share. Although the author stresses that furniture manufacturers launch the lean journey immediately, he wants to caution them to take time to develop a plan that will ensure success. The first step in the lean journey is workplace organization (5S) -- the foundation of lean. Workplace organization goes far beyond cleaning the work area, and the only way to ensure a successful 5S implementation is through a well-developed, executable plan. A typical approach to 5S is a mandate issued by the plant manager for all the supervisors to clean and organize their departments by a certain date. In other words, "just do it." Here is an executable format for developing the plan: 1. current situation, 2. mission or task, 3. implementation, 4. support and resources available, and 5. communication and leadership.
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