5s in the Office
5S is often associated with manufacturing processes and equipment maintenance. In reality, it’s a versatile Lean methodology that can be applied to any work environment that can benefit from visual control and streamlined workflows—including the office.
Knowledge workers, just like their counterparts working the factory floor, benefit from the clarity and organization that 5S can provide: It allows them to make better decisions about prioritizing and executing daily tasks.
Like “traditional” 5S, 5S in the Office centers on eliminating waste and improving organization and standardization. 5S in the Office shifts the focus away from physical goods, manual labor, and machines and applies the five step methodology to the information flow.
5s in the Office Online Video Course
As part of our growing School of Lean library of courses, our 5s in the Office course will guide you from the basics to being certification-ready.
Through this course you will learn how to make lasting changes as well as how to decide where to start making improvements.
Benefits of 5S Implementation in an Office Environment
On the surface, 5S is a pretty straightforward concept, but many organizations make the mistake of thinking of 5S as a one-off spring cleaning initiative and not as an ongoing effort.
Ultimately, the purpose of 5S—regardless of the work environment—is to give workers a systematic process for working smarter and making incremental, continuous improvements across the entire value chain.
Done right, it supports employee engagement, reduces instances of human error or preventable mistakes, improves product/service quality and the customer experience, and saves employees a whole lot of time.
How to Practice 5S in the Office
No matter the industry or environment, the Lean journey typically begins with 5S, due to its simplicity and the immediate impact it brings to the organization.
But where does one begin with 5S in the Office? Again, while the steps are relatively straightforward, it’s worth pointing out that this strategy does require some planning.
So, before you get started with 5S, you’ll need to make sure that you have a specific project in mind. Rather than diving right into the “sort” stage, you’ll want to first define a target objective—think “create a single source of truth for all data” or “streamlining intake hand-offs.”
From there, you’ll work through each step with that singular goal in mind. Additionally, you’ll need to figure out which metrics represent success and come up with some steps for course-correcting should you run into any trouble.
Finally, to ensure that your 5S program is a success, you’ll need to make sure that everyone from the C-suite to the help desk is involved in the process. You’ll need to provide adequate resources and training to launch and sustain the program, as well as ensure that the practice aligns with your strategic goals.
For more information about 5S in the Office, check out our 11-part video course.
In this course, Gemba Academy co-founder and Lean expert Ron Pereira introduces the concept of 5S in the Office environment and explains how the foundational methodology applies to knowledge work.
Later, you’ll go behind the scenes at FedEx Office to learn how each "S" applies in an office environment, then we'll wrap things up with a segment on applying 5S to knowledge work. Watch the first video for free to learn more.
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