The elements of 5S are all valuable in their own right but they simply form part of the bigger picture of establishing good practice. They sit alongside the other elements of Lean , or Just in Time, or World Class and some of the elements in, for example, Seiton (standardisation) are in fact straight lifts from textbooks on other forms of improvement activity. There is nothing in any 5S material, for example, to give guidance on improving the clerical processes for generating production paperwork following receipt of a sales order! The answer, surely, is to understand 5S as we understand all aspects of other types of improvement and problem-solving activity and then to agree a change programme for our own business. This is not to say that we must not launch a project which we call "5S" - some businesses have more success if improvement initiatives are launched with a generic, well-publicised term as project name. Equally, this is not a good solution in other organisations. Again, the history and culture of the company or the specific plant have to be taken into account when this decision is taken.
He serves on the advisory board of a number of technology startups, and has consulted to new and established companies as well as venture capital firms. In 2010, he was named entrepreneur-in-residence at Harvard Business School and is currently an IDEO Fellow. Previously he co-founded and served as CTO of IMVU, his third startup. In 2007, BusinessWeek named him one of the Best Young Entrepreneurs of Tech. In 2009, he was honored with a TechFellow award in the category of Engineering Lean Startup methodology has been written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review,Inc. (where he appeared on the cover), Wired, Fast Company, and countless blogs. He lives in San Francisco.
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