Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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Applying 5 S Methodology, the cornerstone of Japanese lean manufacturing strength in our daily lives – The Final Part

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

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A 5S poster hanging in our goat farm. (We have 6 of these all over the farm). We got the posters from the Malaysian National Productivity Corporation, a Malaysian Government body first set up with the help of the UN and which lists amongst its objectives ”the promotion and dissemination of productivity related information and issues”.

Note that the poster is in Bahasa Malaysia, and the MPC has also used suitable words to maintain the 5S acronym.  

Continuing our series on 5 “S”….. as consistent practice and application of the Japanese “5 S” Methodology helps to form a strong foundation for our journey into continuous incremental improvements in our workplace, homes and lives.   Seiri – the first “S” 

Seiton – the second “S” 

Seiso – the third “S” and the fourth “S”, i.e. Seiketsu. 

The fifth and final “S” in the chain is:

Shitsuke        

“Shitsuke, means ‘Discipline.’ It denotes commitment to maintain orderliness and to practice the first 4 S as a way of life.  The emphasis of shitsuke is elimination of bad habits and constant practice of good ones.  Once true shitsuke is achieved, personnel voluntarily observe cleanliness and orderliness at all times, without having to be reminded by management.”

Once the 4 S are ingrained in us, the 5th “S” calls for us to make a commitment, implement the rules and make the practice of 5 S an ingrained habit.

Probably many of us are actually practicing the tenets of 5 S, based on what we have seen elsewhere, without actually realising. Some simple examples of 5 S in daily life are given by Dr. Chao-Hsien Chu of  Pennsylvania State University, USA. 

We have instituted the practice of 5 S in our goat farm. I am confident that consistent application and practice of these simple words of wisdom can only be of benefit to us.

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A place for every broom and a broom for every place. 

Photo Credits: Zai, my partner at the goat farm

Applying 5 S Methodology, the cornerstone of Japanese lean manufacturing strength in our daily lives – Part 4

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Continuing our series on 5 S….. as consistent practice and application of the Japanese “5 S” Methodology helps to form a strong foundation for our journey into continuous incremental improvements in our workplace, homes and lives.  We have already covered:-

- SEIRI 

- SEITON  and

- SEISO

The fourth of the “5 S” is SEIKETSU or STANDARDIZE.

The word “standardize” has many meanings. I follow the version that refers to having standards for every process that we do in the office, home or for ourselves.

Examples may be that all supplier files are red. All keys are in duplicated in 3 sets, one for use by the person, 1 set with Administration Department, and the last set as a final back up with someone else. Uniforms are another form of standards. All dangerous liquids being marked with a standard logo that does not allow for any mistaking it for Sprite.   Color coding, etc.

Whilst this step does not allow for much improvisation or so called individualism, it allows for very easy understanding of work functions if people have to be shifted around or if people leave.

(Improvisation and improvement is more than adequately allowed for in other parts of Kaizen. Still for Kaizen to truly grow and flourish, all players should have their 5 S well mastered.)

Imagine an organization, much like the colonies of bees or ants. Each member knows exactly what to do, when and how. All according to the standards that exist for the colonies. And many are the praises of efficiency these colonies get.

In the home, this standardization can be extended to storage of items, (including filing of documentation), buying and storing of food stuff. Having standards will help us track down abnormalities in food packaging (stuff that the marketing guys do to “fool us”. Get Rich Slowly wrote an excellent post on this.) 

Perhaps some of the preachers of better living may say that variety is the spice of life. Thus looking down at process like SEIKETSU.  Take a different route to work everyday, try a different type of food, etc.  

I think there is a place in life for both of these kinds of thinking. Some processes which are repetitive in nature may flourish based on 5 S, whiles others may be better looked at from the variety point of view. 

We just have to make our individual choices.      

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