Crazy 5S Misconceptions
It's the trend and 5S is in. No, it's not fashion that I am talking about here but the Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke thing or translated in English to Sorting, Straightening, Sweeping or Shine (cleaning), Standardizing, Sustaining the discipline.Three words are added, though in debate which are the Safety, Security, and Satisfaction. Several industries ranging from food, ceramics, and petrochemicals to metals are now doing this workplace organization methodology. Specific departments were set upped for this purpose and the idea is great.
With the several companies I have been connected with since I started working and are applying it, I can fairly say that we really got it, at least for most of them. It had either been great or some others just plain bad. Bad to say, that some companies are losing big money big time because due to misconception and the sad part is the finance department and auditing team does not know about it. All they can see is the ‘cleanliness’ that the company’s 5S team has set up for them. They have no idea whatsoever how such one department got it to pass the marks with the audit.One such local scenario that I have encountered is how my current department’s superintendent instructed some of our co-workers to throw working instruments which were just disarranged in the cabinet, to remove and dispose of it somewhere where it would not be seen by others. The instruments which are mostly sensors, complete with box and manuals, and all guaranteed working were all thrown in a garbage bin. They were removed first from the box to make it look used and damage. Good thing, one of close friends from the said industry who found out about it, took it and just kept it in his tool-cabinet for future use just in case we both need some spares. Talk about savings!
Another sad part is that since labeling is part of the 5S methods, they just tend to label everything. And you know what everything means? It means the table, the coffee maker, the drinking fountain, and so forth and so on. We are just waiting for them to label the floor too. Their intentions might be noble, but it had become too much that the department and for some of the folks eyes that it looks like a pre-school institution and they had the audit team clapping their hands.
They had been talked to about it by some of us with some good ideas and were trained and have attended seminars, but their minds are just as close as a frightened clamshell. The best thing to do, really, is to let the 5S department acquaint us (yeah, that includes me for I am no guru of that, to frankly tell, though I know a thing or two) with the overview, methods, and other right information before letting someone do something and implement just for the company’s sake or it could be train that 5S department first!