Monday, October 03, 2011

The Five S's

This is a thing from Japan designed to promote more efficient and safer working practices. In the west here we appear to pay lip service to it but one really wonders how well it transfers to an office environment, as opposed to the factory environment where it was originally developed.

The S's are all Japanese words:

Seiri   Eliminate all unnecessary tools, parts, and instructions.

Seiton   There should be a place for everything and everything should be in its place.

Seiso   Clean the workspace and all equipment, and keep it clean, tidy and organized.
Seiketsu   Work practices should be consistent and standardized.
Shitsuke   Maintain and review standards.
What concerns me is this. The Japanese don't have the letter S - so what we've done is taken the 5 original rules which are entitled with Ssss words and wedged in 5 English words that also begin with Sssss.

How good a fit can this be?

The English version is:

1 Sorting (Seiri)
2 Straightening or setting in order / stabilize (Seiton)
3 Sweeping or shining or cleanliness / systematic cleaning (Seiso)
4 Standardizing (Seiketsu)
5 Sustaining the discipline or self-discipline (Shitsuke)

then we invented 2 more to make the 7 Ss that should have already been achieved if you'd done the first 5 correctly.

6 Safety
7 Security

And most bizarrely of all - a command to sit back and feel smug. They could have just called it 'smug' as smug begins with an S, however the tedious spineless bureaucratic bastards decided to call it Satisfaction, as in (I Can't Get No).

8 Satisfaction

This comes because we've been asked to apply the 5 S's to our workstations in my office. I thought, as I usually do, that this can't possibly apply to me; "Special people please ignore" being the first in my 5 Ss

today I got into the office to find a note. "Gents, this is not 5 S's. Please sort! The boss."

So - to apply the 5 S's I put all my stuff, in-tray and all, in my desk cupboard where I can be about half as efficient as I was before.

The next 4 rules in my 5S's is if you can't deflest it using rule 1. then:
2. Stick it all in the cupboard, in-tray and all
3. Show off about how clear my desk is
4. Sit back and wait for the boss to congratulate me
5. Slowly, surely start pulling my hair out as I can't find shit!

you could also add

6. Stupid
7. Self-defeating

and if you really want

8. Shit - there's no more room in my cupboard, what do I do now?

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