The Cost of Workplace Disorganization
April 03, 2014
When you walk around your production floor do you see forgotten coffee cups, trash on the bench or piles of swept up debris that has not made it any further? If so, have you thought about how this affects your productivity, quality or morale. Often basic housekeeping is overlooked in favor of “productivity.” This is a common practice but one that costs you over the long run.
What you are actually communicating to your workforce, non-verbally? By not insisting on better habits, you are actually implying that you do not care about how they treat the work place, the equipment or, for that matter how they get the job done.
Many of the manufacturing companies we work with in Connecticut are small, and often run with minimal staff. So days are usually filled with solving one crisis after another. Taking the time to speak to someone about how they treat the workplace is often the last thing on anyone’s agenda, but the consequences are exponential.
- Sort out what’s not needed, and bring in what is needed, throughout your work space.
- Set in Order all of the things you use to create work product. Put things where they make the most sense. Categorize each of your tools, and keep a quantity on hand that makes sense.
- Shine. This is more than just getting out the polishing cloth. We help you define what “clean” looks like, and then make sure all of your tools are properly labeled and cleaned. When you are cleaning you also need to inspect your tools and equipment for any repair needs, etc. You are looking for anything that is not normal in the work place.
- Standardize all the rules to keep 5S going forward – when will you sort again, what is the schedule for cleaning, what does clean look like, etc.
- Sustain this entire process. Also known as Self Discipline, which we all know is the hardest part. You will need to create some infrastructure around auditing, communication and how continued processes will be attained.
5S creates “a place for everything, everything in its place, safe, clean and ready to use.” The rewards are a more disciplined work force which leads to better adherence to standard work. This in turn leads to predictable use of labor and materials and improved quality. With a little training and small increments of time to work on it over the course of a couple weeks, you can start to build the foundation for increased workplace organization.
The key tie in to discipline is in the creation of a simple 5S Daily Task List that is clearly stated and visibly posted in the area. Having expectations clearly defined and posted makes the conversion a lot easier to have. People will respond; what is important to one’s boss is important to one’s self. You get what you measure. These sayings may be cliché, but they are true.
You can also create a simple 3S audit that your staff can review daily/weekly to keep themselves on track. If you provide them a method to improve how the workplace looks, soon they will provide feedback on how the workplace can be improved as well.
A 3S Audit would include:
- Sort to eliminate clutter.
- Set in Order and put everything in its place.
- Shine to clean and inspect your tools and equipment
If you cannot control what your staff does with their trash you cannot control how they will create your product. It is the most basic form of Standard Work. They cannot follow what is not trained, documented and audited. 5S is so rarely implemented, yet it lays the foundation for all other continuous improvement efforts.
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