Take a look at this example of 5S. What do you think….good example or not? It sure looks good, doesn’t it? I found this example on LinkedIn, along with some comments as to whether or not it’s a good example. Some of the commenters felt it was a good example given that…well, how orderly everthing is. Others felt that it’s not such a good example and it’s not the lack of labeling that they mentioned. Those others asked if five colors of highlighters are really needed. And two different kinds of Post-Its. And two blue and red pens. After all the first S is “Sort”.
I would agree that the Sort is key here but we can’t use circumstantial evidence to assume it wasn’t done. If the user really does need and regularly uses all those highlighters, then it’s a good example of 5S. On the other hand, if the user generally just takes out the yellow one and keeps the others “just in case”, it’s just an exercise in tidiness. Same with the pens and Post-Its.
The moral of the story is, it’s not just the good organization that makes this a good example. It’s the deliberation that went into the effort along the way