The Lean Supply Chain
Paul Myerson

5S at Home…a Good Place to Start!

I’ve always been a fairly neat and organized person. I don’t like clutter and dis-organization. Worst of all, I despise constantly cleaning up (especially after others). So I’ve always, kind of naturally, tried to apply Lean 5S principles at home (sometimes with success, other times without) and as a result, it’s not been hard for me to transfer it to the workplace, especially the supply chain & logistics area.

5S also known as “Workplace Organization” is all about keeping the workplace neat, uncluttered, organized and safe. So I was thinking, if more people practiced it at home, maybe we’d be more successful at doing it at work?

At a blog called 5S Housekeeping at Home, they describe what each of the “S”’s stand and discuss how they can work in the household:

“Sort Out – Eliminate unnecessary things. Keep only what is needed. Undertake major cleaning. Save money on buying unnecessary additional storage and equipment.

Set in Order – Establish a neat layout to fix storage places and the methods and stick to the rules. Eliminate search time and therefore, stresses and strains. Save money by not purchasing the items now easily available at home.

Shine – Understanding that cleanliness is a form of inspection. Establish a state of cleanliness commensurate with your needs. Involve every individual. Achieve zero grime and zero dirt. Give a definite time of day for cleaning.

Standardize – Establish standards for maintaining. Add color and use innovative visible management so that abnormalities show up for early action. Also make sure that you contribute to environment upkeep.

Sustain – Feeling accountable and setting examples to maintain the established procedures of orderliness and neatness. Full participation in develop and practicing good habits.”

As in the workplace, the last “S” is usually the hardest to accomplish. The more kids and pets you have, the harder it is!

This brings us back to the Supply Chain & Logistics function which has plenty of great places to 5S, especially in the warehouse such as staging, shipping, receiving, maintenance, tool rooms, stock rooms, etc. The warehouse, shop floor and office is also a great place to begin to implement a Lean culture at your company.

So maybe if we start with 5S at home (and no more Spring cleaning, as a result), it will be easier to remember it at work too.

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