Education image to highlight 5S of continuous improvement
17 Sep 2018

5S is as simple as abc

Chas Goldring Manager - Continuous Improvement

Mrs G, in my unbiased opinion, is probably one of the best teachers in Teesside.

She has spent 30 years persuading 6-7 year-olds the merits of learning to read, write and count (the alarming thought for her is that some of the small children she first taught in 1988 are now fast approaching 40!)

She also knows the foundation of all this is excellent workplace organisation.

Everything in her room is colour co-ordinated and labelled. Every child knows what to do, where to go and where to find it. Mrs G knows any sign of disorder might lead to complete melt down. And let’s face it, that’s not a pleasant thought!

There is no wasted time. There is no confusion. The children know where everything is. Everything has a place and there’s a place for everything.

The classroom is like your workplace. Wasted time trying to find the correct widget affects the process. It causes confusion and ultimately affects your output.

During the Lean Six Sigma courses we run at British Steel, we use a number of games to illustrate key points. It always amazes me how naturally people will arrange their plugs, fuses and stickle bricks to make life easier for themselves. To make their work place quicker and more effective.

Yet our workplaces are disorganised. Why? We seem to accept there’s no benefit to good workplace organisation. I’ve had senior managers tell me that 5S (the backbone to workplace organisation) is mere window dressing, a cosmetic exercise to make a work area look nice with no real benefit. Yet how do they set that against the ability of an operator to find the correct tooling in seconds rather than minutes?

Mrs G is also an influencer. Her fellow teachers look at her classroom, see the good work place organisation works, and copy it. Soon the whole school is rocking to the Mrs G Way!

So next time you see a poorly organised workplace, make sure you challenge it. Think about Mrs G and her classroom. If good workplace organisation is child’s play, then why not try it in your place of work?

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Pearl Close / 25 September 2018
How very very true Chas! This also works with a pc. Knowing where you filed a particular document can save precious minutes searching for it!