At one time Japanese manufacturing was the envy of the whole world and there’s still a lot we can learn from this country’s approach to running an organisation.
The 5s approach to workplace management relates back to five Japanese words: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke which can handily be translated into five English words of similar meaning also beginning with S: Sort, Straighten (to set in order), Shine (cleaning), Standardise and Sustain.
It’s actually quite a simple concept; a tidy and organised business will be an efficient and productive one. At Central we have taken the first steps on the 5s journey and have already noticed what a huge impact the changes could - and potentially will - make to our business.
Tidier and more productive
We identified a specific area of our shop floor, cordoned it off and started sorting. We discovered that we had 1.5 tonnes of un-required ‘stuff’! Old rotors that had never been scrapped, Jigs that were never going to be used, equipment that had just been left because we didn’t know what to do with it. Decisions had to be made and action taken, but after a great session we ended up with a space that is not only tidier, but also much more productive.
The Lean Group
This is just the start. The Lean Group, a company dedicated to this approach to workplace organisation, states that the benefits of the 5s approach include: “improved safety; improved performance; reduction in waste; employees with a sense of ownership; solid foundations to build on; and a manufacturing environment which is also a showroom.”
Maybe in our line of work the last one might be pushing things slightly, but if by following the 5s rule we can bring about these types of benefits then we believe it’s the right approach for our business and we’re looking forward to continuing our journey.