The Simplest Way to Start Lean Manufacturing Immediately: 5Cs, Part 2

posted on: Wednesday November 2, 2016

Lean manufacturing really is for everyone, but the strategies to choose from don’t work the same for everyone. s3Smaller sized manufacturing companies can have a tough time choosing the best starting place for Continuous Improvement. The easiest and best first step is 5C.

The 5Cs are:

  1. Clear
  2. Configure
  3. Clean & Check
  4. Conformity
  5. Consensus or Custom & Practice

In our last article, we covered Clear and Configure, which are very important first steps. Here we’ll pick back up with the third C:

Clean & Check

With everything in its place and out of the way, you can wipe everything down and check that everything is functioning properly. In this stage, things like oil leaks will be very obvious, so it will be easier to identify repairs that need immediate attention. You will also perform routine maintenance and performance checks to catch potential problems before they slow down your process.

To accomplish this step, you’ll want to create documentation that details the tasks to be completed, how often, and by whom.


This is the standardization step where you create and carry out audits. This formalizes your process and ensures that 5C improvements are maintained and ongoing. It is common for companies to offer prizes to the people in the best-performing areas.

Consensus or Custom & Practice

If you do this entire process once and then never keep up on it, you’re not practicing Continuous Improvement. Old habits creep back pretty easily – too soon you’ll find people ignoring labels and place markers for where materials are supposed to be stored. This step is an ongoing reminder to follow the newly-organized structure and all the plans that were created to optimize productivity.

The 5Cs sound like a lot of cleaning and organizing, but they eliminate so many wastes. It is the perfect first strategy because it gets you functioning at the highest capacity possible given your equipment, training, and process. Once you’ve established a clean and accessible environment, you can identify other opportunities for improvement.

Lean manufacturing is most successful when you have the tools and equipment to make every person’s job as easy and seamless as possible. Battery powered tugs are popular units used to safely move big loads with minimal manpower. They are notorious for accelerating productivity and supporting a lean model. When you’re ready for the next level of lean, contact Load Mover Inc. We’ll talk about your needs and help you determine if a power tug would make you more profitable and efficient. 952-767-1720;