To get its team on-board with HPS, Hearthside went beyond charts and made a commitment to employee training.

4. Getting the team to buy in
Putting a system in place is one thing. But having a team that believes in its core concepts is key. Without the people, 5S and Six Sigma would just be a bunch of colorful charts and arrows on a wall.

To create a culture around HPS, Hearthside took an island-to-nation approach. The company started with a small department, began a 5S program and then shared it with multiple facilities to demonstrate what “good” looks like. From there, the concept spread and now holds the entire organization up.

“People are our most valuable assets, and we display this everyday through our at-glance-programs, reward systems and commitment to train, and we celebrate when we promote within our company,” Mr. Hughes said.

Flowers Foods found the best way to influence its teams was through communicating successes. Mr. Benton said that once employees experience improvements firsthand, they are sold on the initiative.

“The bakery teams know there is support available to help them overcome obstacles and provide resources to improve performance,” he noted.

Mr. Heiser said one of the biggest successes he has seen at Roskam has been employees at all levels getting engaged with — and enjoying — the improvement process. To truly engage a team, Mr. Heiser found, managers first must connect them with the value of reaching a certain goal and help them understand that what they do matters.

“Anytime you can quantify reaching a goal with a dollar amount or improvement to the bottom line, it makes a difference,” he said. “It’s one thing to just say you’ve reached your hour’s worth of work, but it’s another thing to help them understand why that’s important to the company.”

Watching a 5S culture develop within an organization is special, Mr. Brixey said. With a good lean manufacturing system, empowered operators become the voice that drives efficiency improvements on a line, and everyone takes ownership of the company’s success.