Last Friday, I entered my office stores along with one of my colleagues to do a random inventory check of the items to be replenished. This is a routine activity where I dedicate an hour every Friday at four p.m.to check the items and tick off my list. My Store contains more than 100 items consisting all kinds of stationery – paper reams,clips, laser pointers, stop watches, t-shirts etc. But today along with the inventory check, I had decided to organize a box full of CDs and DVDs collected over the years by various Lean Practitioners. So, I had come prepared – my checklist for inventory management helped me calculate the items to be replenished. The other items I had brought with me were for organizing the collection of CDs-DVDs – a few cardboard boxes to keep the segregated items, special cleaning liquid and a few pieces of microfiber cloth.
The CDs and DVDs are a very delicate resource which need to be handled carefully. So here’s what I did! I decided to do some sorting first. I carefully separated the discs and started arranging and categorizing them roughly keeping them in different boxes. Then I cleaned all of them one by one using the special liquid and the microfiber cloth. Cleaning is not just dusting or washing the items, it is also a chance to inspect the items to reveal the abnormalities in it. Accordingly, I kept looking for the damaged ones and then I replaced the covers which were broken. The discs which had enough scratched were tested and separated from the lot.
[implementing 5S] In the process of cleaning the discs we were also reading the name written on the top for identification. It became Cleaning with Meaning. We were amazed to see many valuable stuff. I found presentations on various topics, short films and videos shot at the shop floor, Case Studies on productivity, Quality, etc., videos and photographs of Mahatma Gandhi and much more valuable stuff. The content left me dumbfounded. Later when I shared these detail swith my colleagues, they too, were astonished. One of them appreciated for providing the right material for a training film that he was making. What could have become better than this that I did something and it proved useful to somebody else! Isn’t this a cosmic co-operation!
I,however, did not just stop at cleaning. Since I have standardized this process of going to the Gemba (the real workplace which is my stores), therefore I conduct a cleaning activity once a month to keep the discs running and working in fine condition . Being in a Lean Kaizen practicing firm, I have been able to induce self-discipline in order to get the right things done at the right time. Now, I have devised a calendar for keeping things organized referring it at regular period of time to manage the system.
Try to create a system around you!
“People can get caught in systems that serve in nobody’s interest, all you need to do is to think outside the box and keep improving upon it”. My guruadvised me when I had just joined the firm. He was absolutely right, I could figure this out as I encountered similar situations at my office. A bad system can take over most of us and make us feel helpless regardless of the possibilities of change. But in order to tackle this situation, I used a technique called 5S. It is a Japanese technique of arranging one’s workplace well exemplified by the Toyota Production System but widely adapted by nations (like Japan, USA, Mauritius, etc) and manufacturing as well as Education, Healthcare, Services and the Construction sector.
5S is the starting point of transformation towards creating Workplace Excellence. 5S in Japanese denotes: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke which literally mean Sorting, Systematic Arrangement, Spic and Span, Standardisation and Self Discipline respectively.
If your stuff is not organised, then surely most of us do face difficulties finding things. This irritates and frustrates us. Untidiness will distract you, bringing chaos in life. Even if you do some work, it will not be your best. Tackling the untidiness will also become a deadly task if no process is followed. This will drain your energy and bring your enthusiasm down. Nevertheless, organise your workplace and also your home and you’ll be enabled to work efficiently and become more productive!
Similarly, we must create such systems for computer sometimes! Most of carry laptops! It is such a piece of equipment that never fails to amaze us! I hope my friends in the IT industry would agree! The millennials can’t live without laptops & handheld device such as mobiles, IPads etc. However, these devices needs some data management, at least once a week! You too can follow the 5S system and reap amazing benefits!
The solution lies in implementing the time tested 5S technique. It will result in a clutter free environment which is the hallmark of workplace excellence. A neat, clean and organised workplace will boost your and your colleague’s energy levels and help in reiterating the process of making a world class organisation. So when are you decluttering your life, as what you hold, holds you back!
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