Do you want to be the slave of your working environment, or its master?
Do you want your working area to help you to do your job, or to hinder your efforts?
Do you want to be rushing to complete your tasks, or have time to take pride in them?
5S is a Workplace Organisation system that enables you to be the master of your work area, a work area that helps you to do your job instead of hindering you, so that you have time to take pride in your efforts. It is there to enable you to get each activity right the first time, every time.
Don’t get caught up in the message that 5S is a discipline of managers over workers. If you have been taught that, then the teacher didn’t know what they were talking about.
5S involves everyone, from directors to the guy who sweeps the floor. It benefits everyone. It depends on everyone.
For the system to work, no-one can hide. Everyone has to be involved, everyone has to contribute.
Every work area should be a shop window to show off the benefits of 5S. Factory shop floors that are untidy, dirty and disorganised have to go. Managers’ offices that are disorganised, filled with filing cabinets that contain nothing of worth, these have to go. Director’s offices with files lining the walls that contain irrelevant information from years past have to go.
Who should clean the factory floor? The people who work there. Everyone accepts that.
So who should clean the director’s offices? The directors. Managers should clean their own offices.
You did be surprised how clean and tidy areas are kept when the user is responsible for cleaning them.
If you are a director or manager looking to introduce 5S, you need to start thinking like a Royal Marine where the men have to complete a forced march in a certain time with a certain weight in their backpack. The officers have to complete in a faster time. In the famed obstacle course the officers must complete the course faster than the men.
If you are a director or manager introducing 5S, you need to be better than the standard you expect from your reports. Don’t do it to them do it with them! Set an example. A director or manager implementing 5S must accept this. If you report into a director or manger you must expect it.