Five S

Digital Clutter on your Computer

These days most of us have computers at home or at least intelligent cell phones which are pretty much a computer on your pocket.  We have home the same issues we have in the office with digital clutter.  Digital clutter is distracting, some people have an account on every single social media they know of and to keep up with all those accounts they need time.

This means that the joy of the social media experience is not met and what is worst is taking away time from creating experiences with the real people around.  Having too many apps on the phone, along with too many pictures lead to running out of space on their phones, which means the need to upgrade to a newer model with more memory that soon will have to upgrade again.  The same happens with the home computer.

The idea about social media and technology is to use it to enjoy and facilitate our lives not to act against us.  I listed before some things to deal with digital clutter at the office, those can also be used at home along with these other ideas:

1.  Email account – I have a couple of friends that have way over a thousand emails on their personal Inbox, which is crazy.  If this is your case as well, you have to do the following: get rid of those subscriptions, unsubscribe from newsletters and ads that you are not interested anymore and make a routine to read your emails daily or at least weekly; do not let them accumulate.  Another thing to look at on your email account is your contacts, avoid duplicates.  Sometimes we have the person saved as two different contacts, one with the phone number and another with the email address.  Some emails apps will identify the duplicates for you and will ask if you want to combine or delete if you have it use It.

2.  Desktop – Do not clutter your desktop with shortcuts for every application, program or document you have, it will not help to be more efficient.  Keep shortcuts just for those application or programs that you use very often and folders for your documents.  Keep in mind that the more folders you have on your desktop the slower the computer will be at start-up.

3.  Documents – Be smart about those folders that I told you to create, use a logic name related to the documents you keep inside.  If you have thousands of pictures and or lots of documents, consider keeping some or all on a cloud service.  The rule to use the cloud is the same, do not create too many folders, keep them organize and delete duplicate or no needed files.

4. Programs or applications – Sometimes we experiment with different applications searching for the right one but when we finally find the perfect app, we do not go back to uninstall the old ones.  Uninstalling old programs or application will free up space on the hard drive.  While checking for unused apps, check also for drivers, digital manuals and apps from old devices no longer in use and uninstall or delete those as well.

5. Media (Pictures/Music/Videos) – The good thing about digital, is that you can keep all the photos, music, books, videos and movies that you want.  That is also the bad thing about digital media.  One thing to avoid is to keep duplicates, like five versions of the same song.  Sometimes we shoot fifty photographs of the same scene to choose one, we don’t need to keep all fifty of them, delete the bad ones to free up tons of space on your disk.  To facilitate the filing process, create the folder, choose the keepers and delete the others right after uploading the pictures from the camera.

6. Internet browser – Your internet browser can be your best friend or not, it takes some time but you can manage to have a browser that will help you to enjoy your time and fight clutter.  Let’s start with the bookmarks and reading lists.  As with everything else, delete those that are no longer needed and then create a folder system for what you need.  Un-subscribe from blogs that you are not interested anymore.  Cookies and temporary internet files accumulate over time and create space and speed issues on your computer.  Learn how to delete them and do it every once in a while, this needs to be part of the computer preventive maintenance.

After uninstalling programs and applications and deleting documents, pictures and others a final step is to clean up your disc.  Learn how to analyze, clean up and complete defragmentation on your computer, this is another way to free up some space and keep your computer healthy.   Keep your computer and phone clutter free and enjoy!

Five S, The Beginning

Do you practice 5S at home?

The beauty of 5S is that is simple and can be used everywhere.  In one of my recent 5S implementations, I was not getting the buying from my maintenance crew until I mention examples of 5S at home.  Let’s face it, nobody want to lose their tools or waste time looking for them instead of working on that project that you are so passionate about.  You need a tool, you know you have it but, where it is?

During my lean journey, 5S is one of the tools that I always use at the beginning of the implementation.  This training is very important because physically transform the area very fast, and is so easy to use that employees can learn and practice in a short period of time which helps to build confidence on lean manufacturing.  That confidence also led the employees to try 5S at home.

I heard great stories of how they use 5S on their garages, home offices, and closets around the house.  It is funny to hear how they explain their spouses or partners the plan they have to organize and keep organize those areas.  The challenges they face to make their families understand the why and how to help them to understand our challenges at the plant and become advocates of the program.

If you have some cluttered areas around your house, 5S is the tool you need to get rid of them.  Try it, it’s worth it!  In future posts, I will present ideas that you can use at home.


Five S, Lean Tools, Visual Management

Making Problems Visible

Recently we have an external audit at our plant and while the results were good, they were not as good as expected.  The audit results did not match the excellent team effort and great preparation work done during the whole year.  The auditor managed to see a good amount of non-conformance, most of them were very simple things.

During the staff meetings right after the audit, we reviewed all the observations, some of us were pretty upset by the results.  At the end of the meeting our general manager pointed out the teamwork done and how hard we worked during all last year and the current to make the plant visible which helped the auditor to determine what was out of standard.  Of all people, I failed to notice that our plant is so visible that basically, we made the auditor job easier!

Lesson learned this story is now part of our Five S and Visual Management training.  These programs work, the audit was proof of that.  Visual standards make easier to understand when situations are out of standard.  The next step after detection is to fix the situation, that is where we need to work more.  Daily follow-up is important, training for new employees and why not? Maybe we need to revise the standards and go back to the drawing table after all the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle never ends!

Five S

Did you meet the 5S?

A 5S Program is a group of principles and activities that seek cleaner, organized, free of clog and safety hazard work areas.  The five steps of housekeeping transform the work areas into easy to workspaces because they contain visual instructions that promote the organization and make it easy to recognize when standards are not followed.  The program itself is one of the foundations of Lean Manufacturing.

5S ProcessThe following five steps promote standardization and facilitate continuous improvement:

  1. Sort –  The first step is about sorting all materials and tools between necessary and non-necessary to complete the task or work of that area.
  2. Set in Order – After we decided what we need on the area, on the second step a location and quantity is assigned for each one.  We need to have a place for everything and everything should be returned to its place after being used.
  3. Shine – The third step looks for a thorough cleaning and inspection.  The inspection is the more important part, the objective is to identify any possible source for the dirt and fix it.  Leaks, loose bolts, broken belts, previous quick fixes, and others are identified and fixed while cleaning.
  4. Standardize – During the fourth step, managers and supervisors need to create rules, procedures, and standards to ensure we keep doing the first three steps constantly.  Within those checklists and procedures, we need to establish what is needed, how is done, who is responsible and how often.  Rules to replenish materials, the maximum amount of work in process (WIP) is also determined on this step.
  5. Sustain – The last S is the most difficult one because involves discipline.  Managers and supervisors need to be persistent.  Employees participation is vital, without their ideas, help, and participation through every step of the way; the success of this program won’t be possible.

5S Events are one of my favorite Lean events because the steps are easy to follow and the program can be used anywhere, including home.  This program is clearly focused on the employees and their working conditions and as soon as they start working with it, they understand that.


Five S, Lean Trainings

How to do a 5S Training?

Being 5S the foundation for Lean Manufacturing, it is really important to design good training that captures employees attention and motivate them to learn and support the program.  After a lot of trial and error, I came up with two different ways to do this training.  Which one I choose, depending on how much time we want to dedicate for training, the target area and the employee’s availability.

The Two Steps Training takes two days, the first day is for all the theory plus the first S, including the kick off of the Red Tag Campaign.  Between both training days usually, we have one to two weeks that use to decide what to do with all the stuff that ends up on the Red Tag Area.  The second day is to complete the next four S.  We dedicate a good amount of time to select the permanent location for all the equipment, tools and materials needed in the target area.  The whole group works moving things around, labeling, cleaning, and painting.  We can not set standards too fast, we always have a one-hour session about two weeks after the second training day to go over the procedures and standards established to check the status.  Are they working?  Do we need to change something?  Can we make everything official?

The Step by Step training takes between four to five days but is really through because literally take the employees by the hand and walk them through the whole process.

I mostly use Two Steps Training for small areas that are easy to tackle.  Step by step is my favorite by far, although it is slower it is a complete learning experience.  This one is really good when you want to develop employees and give them nice tools to empower them to take their own decisions. Also, we have plenty of time to practice Lean Thinking.

How do you do your 5S training?  Which way proves more successful for you?