The Japanese are known for their high level of organization and cleaning. In fact, the philosophy of kaizen comes from them. It means a continuous process. Such philosophy has stemmed from the concept of 5S in cleaning – Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Set in Order), Seiso (Shine), Seiketsu (Standardize), and Shitsuke (Sustain).
Sort the first step in 5s in cleaning
Seiri is sorting through all items in a location and removing what is not necessary. In modern times, it is doing the Marie Kondo method – in with what sparks joy, and out with what does not.
It aims to reduce time loss looking for an item in a mountain of unnecessary items. By doing it, we can reduce distraction because we only possess what is essential. Aside from simplifying the processes, it increases the amount of available and useful space. It also paves the way for safety and security as it eliminates obstacles.
In sorting through your items, evaluate whether or not each object is necessary. Does it spark joy? It is essential. If one of the answers is No, then throw them out. Having items is just like being in a relationship. Let go of those that cease to make you happy and those that you no longer need in your life.
Set in Order
Alternatively called “Straighten,” Seiton is putting all necessary items in the right place for their optimal function. As the saying goes, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
Its main objective is to pave the way for smooth and easy workflow. It even echoes the Chinese concept of Feng shui where positive zen flows smoothly in your space.
By straightening, consider the proximity of your tools and equipment around you where you don’t need to exert much effort in getting them. Arrange them accordingly like their functionality and frequency of use. You may assign fixed locations in certain items and put clear labels so that others can also easily put them back.
Seiso is not only regularly sweeping or cleaning your area. It also includes inspecting.
By doing so, it improves the efficiency, effectiveness, and safety of everyone. It also reduces waste, prevents errors, and saves resources.
You may do this step on schedule – may it be daily, weekly, or monthly. Appropriate the frequency of your inspection as you are cleaning your objects. In that way, you can equipment that may potentially risk you or anyone in the workplace.
Seiketsu is to standardize by crafting guidelines, schedules, and procedures to ensure the repetition of the first three ‘S’ practices.
By doing so, develop procedural instruction to create a structure for everyone to follow. Make everyone involved by giving them the accountability of performing the sorting, setting of order, and sweeping. Set standards in every aspect of your work for everyone to abide by. Once done, schedule a regular (monthly, semi-annual, or annual) audit check to make sure that everyone understood the process. If there are instances of non-compliance, provide feedback for improvement.
Shitsuke is developing the discipline to follow the processes without being told to do so. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, it is the point of self-actualization where you can perform those tasks by force of habit.
For one to get to this point, organize training workshops.
Perform regular audits to ensure that all defined standards are being implemented and followed.
Implement improvements whenever possible. Worker inputs can be very valuable for identifying improvements.
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