In the first article A 5S Office System – Part 1 Planning we looked at the planning and first meeting stages of implementing a 5S Office System. Now you will learn how to build on this to lay the foundation for your 5S Office System.
First a word about overdoing it. The 5S system was created for the manufacturing environment. Part of this is using items such as shadow boards where the outline of a tool is placed on a peg board so you know where it goes and if it is missing.
While I see great benefit for this in that environment, I have seen this translated to what I feel is an extreme in the office environment. Some 5S Office Systems will have you literally label each desk such as “stapler” and that is where your stapler must go.
You may want to carry your system this far, but remember the goal of a 5S Office System is to create a more productive workplace and as a benefit to raise morale. Personally having my desk labeled with the locations of everything on it and being expected to keep it that way is extreme.
I do recommend standards for cleanliness and organization for desks and cubicles. The goal for the end of the day should be to have a desk that is clear and ready to start the next day. In my opinion, to actually label a desk and force workers to maintain that layout takes away the ability for each worker to adjust their workspace to fit their work flow.
Do you really want your 5S Office team to become office police going around taking away points because a stapler is not in its labeled position?
During Follow-Up Meetings
Once you have educated your 5S Office team and established the goals you want to accomplish it is time to plan your 5S Office System. Hold follow-up meetings to develop the tools and lay the foundation of your 5S Office System.
Since the goal of the first 5S step is the remove all unnecessary items, your group must determine where everything goes. Create a map and log to indicate where everything will be located at the end of the campaign. Consider placing a 5S bulletin board in the office. On it you will place educational material about 5S and a map showing where everything is located. It is also an excellent location to place a suggestion box. You may be surprised at the good suggestions that can come from those who actually do the work.
A key benefit of a 5S Office System is being able to find what you need, when you need it and knowing where everything is. Tools to help you reach this goal will include maps and lists that can be posted around the office and on your company intranet.
To help you determine what goes where take the office space and divide it into zones on an office map such as A1, B2, etc. If the office space is large and contains several different departments create a map specific for each department. Map the location of every filing cabinet either by what the contents are or by a letter or numbered system. Log these to a sheet which can be posted with the location map.
Desks and offices should be mapped not according to who is located there, but using a logical zone based system. For instance office C12 and desk B19. Your location map can easily show where office C12 and desk B19 is located. You can then create a separate document placing it on your company intranet to indicate who is in office C12 and at desk B19. Office equipment should also be zone based such as PA4 for the printer located in zone A4.
As workers change locations and new workers are hired it is much easier and faster to accommodate their change of location using zone mapping. If someone is promoted from office C12 to office A3 the reference sheet can be easily updated. Inventory tracking is made easier because you can move the PC belonging to the worker in office C12 to office A3 and map them to the printer in zone A with a quick update.
Other benefits of mapping out your office is for your new team members. They can be given a map and reference sheet. They will then easily know where everything and everyone is located. It will also benefit groups such as the IT department. They will be able to the track the inventory and location of every piece of equipment. For instance they can change printer names to match zone locations. When someone calls and says that printer PA4 is not working, they will know exactly where that is. Be sure to label office equipment for ease of identification.
Plan the Work Flow
One of the goals of a 5S campaign in the office is to improve efficiency and productivity. To enhance this consider the office layout and environment. Place filing cabinets containing designated documents close to those who use them the most. You should have a designated area for office supplies and cleaning supplies. If you do not have these consider building two closets for these items centrally located if possible.
Consider the location of printers, fax machines, document shredders and other office equipment. How much time is wasted going to retrieve documents from a printer located on the far side of the room? Consider moving such items to a central location, near those who use them the most.
Since space in an office is valuable real estate look at the layout of desks, cabinets and office equipment. Walking through a maze or areas that are too close together is a waste of time and often hazardous. You want walkways to be clear of clutter and the office easy to navigate in. If there are pieces of office furniture or office equipment that is not needed, dispose of it or move it to a location that is out of the way.
Upgrade Your Office
Since the goal is to increase efficiency and productivity consider replacing any worn out office furniture and equipment. How much time is wasted dealing with that old printer? Consider replacing it with a modern multi-function printer.
All upgrades do not mean spending money. One way to save money is to go to a paperless office where possible. It reduces printing costs and the need for so many filing cabinets. You can scan documents into a portable format such as PDF and place them on a central and organized location on your company network. Access can be controlled with folder rights so only those who need access to the documents can get to them. Workers will never have to leave there desk to retrieve a document and documents will never be lost or out of place!
Upgrading the office environment can also increase efficiency and productivity by increasing worker morale. Workers who are happier about their work environment are more productive. Replacing worn out office furniture and office equipment, implementing better office organization and making it easier for workers to do their job can do wonders for increasing morale. Consider placing some pictures on those blanks walls. Plants and other office friendly decorations can liven up the work environment. If you have a break room look at upgrading it as well.
Designate Sort Zones
A lot of items will be out of place. To prepare for this you must designate three specific areas and provide plenty of boxes and bags to handle them all.
- A place for items that need to be discarded. These are items you designate are no longer needed and can be thrown away. Be sure you have an area for sensitive documents and a shredder to destroy them before disposal.
- A place for items that are out of place. Before beginning a 5S sort campaign for the office you need to determine what goes where.
- A place for items that have no designated area, but can not be discarded. You will have to identify if you really need these items and if so where you will put them. Despite your best efforts for planning, there will always be pieces that you do not have an assigned place for.
5S Campaign Supplies
Be sure you have enough cleaning supplies for the shine step. Cleaning rags, cleaning solutions, brooms, dust pans, garbage bags and any other items that will be needed.
You will need to have LOTS of boxes to hold items that are out of place. The last part of the Sort step will be to go through these boxes and tagged items and determine their fate.
Tags, labels and label makers will be very useful. During the 5S sort step items can be tagged to indicate where they came from and in which of the three designated sort zones they belong. Filing cabinets will need to be marked, as well as the folders inside them. Everything should be labeled for easy identification.
The 5S Office System Series
- Part 1 – Planning
- Part 2 – Laying the Foundation
- Part 3 – Your First 5S Office Campaign
- Part 4 – Sustaining the 5S Office System
- Part 5 – Building on Your Success