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.
Frederick Winslow Taylor , the father of scientific management , introduced what are now called standardization and best practice deployment. In Principles of Scientific Management , (1911), Taylor said: "And whenever a workman proposes an improvement, it should be the policy of the management to make a careful analysis of the new method, and if necessary conduct a series of experiments to determine accurately the relative merit of the new suggestion and of the old standard. And whenever the new method is found to be markedly superior to the old, it should be adopted as the standard for the whole establishment."