Organized Workplace? Take it from the Japanese
Productivity in the workplace could be dramatically improved with an organized workplace.
That is why managers are paying attention and investing part of their budget toward this objective.
The Japanese workplace methodology 5S is highly recommended by experts worldwide and, thus, is preferred by most managers. 5S dos not make improvements on a piecemeal basis. It offers a world class and highly-effective process that has delivered proven results.
Contrary to popular misconception, 5S can be applied to any type of company or department. Although, originally it was applied to manufacturing, its principles have been found just as useful in offices and service businesses as in those engaged in production.
Through 5S, time wasted in looking for tools in the factory or searching for forms in an office will virtually be eradicated. Also, since there is a more systematic approach to maintenance, substantial savings can be realized due to less downtime and major repairs.
In order to better understand how 5S works, here are its 5 phases and the corresponding Japanese terms in parenthesis:
1. Sort (Seiri). This is the elimination of what is not needed, and the storing of those which are not needed immediately. All items, tools, supplies, and even procedures must be checked if they must be situated at the worksite, stored, or discarded.
2. Set in Order (Seiton). After the sorting, effort is then focused on organizing and identifying the work tools and materials to make it easy to access and return. A basic principle in organizing here is that there should be a place for everything and that everything should be in its place. Frequently used items should be as near as possible to the worker so that they could be easily found. A key part of this process is the planning of the workflow and proper labelling to aid in locating needed items.
3. Shine (Seiso). This means cleaning on a regular or daily basis but more than this it also covers preventive maintenance, minor repairs, and inspection. Some of the other areas that it covers are proper lighting, dividing the workplace into areas of responsibility, knowing the proper cleaning and maintenance procedures, and planning how to minimize the need for cleaning.
4. Standardize (Seiketsu). This is to create a consistent procedure of doing things, especially with regards to the previous three phases previously mentioned. To enable this, there must be similar setups, settings, procedures, equipment and tools for a particular work station. Ideally, an employee could be able to transfer to counterparts work station with no learning curve to hurdle.
5. Sustain the discipline (Shitsuke). Last, but most critical is the sustaining phase. The entire 5S method is dependent on continuous training, monitoring and improvement of the process.
Organizing your workplace is a hard and long term undertaking and it would be foolish to experiment when a tried and tested process such as 5S can be utilized.
BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider, will be conducting a one-day seminar on implementing 5S.
Click here to view details of the training program: How to Implement 5S in the Workplace >>>
*Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holder.