Columnists Features

Importance of proper arrangement in ensuring efficiency

CUSTOMER CARE with NAMUCANA MUSIWA
HOW often have you followed up something with an organisation that you have been dealing with and on one occasion, just when you think you are now concluding, you are told to resubmit your papers because the earlier ones have been misplaced? This should not happen in a Kaizen-focused company.
The Japanese 5S system, a topic that has been the focus of this column in the last three articles, provides guidelines for better organisation. It provides guidelines on how one can properly arrange items and tools in the workplace and therefore become more efficient.
The 5S framework was originally developed by just-in-time expert and international consultant Hiroyuki Hirano. The 5S framework is an extension of Hirano’s earlier works on just-in-time production systems.
The 5Ss represent a simple “good housekeeping” approach to improving the work environment consistent with the tenets of lean manufacturing systems. The focus on the concept is how the visual workplace can be utilised to drive inefficiencies out of the manufacturing process. This framework also improves workplace safety, which makes it attractive to businesses.
According to Hirano, without the organisation and discipline provided by successfully implementing the 5Ss, other lean manufacturing tools and methods are likely to fail. The 5Ss stand for the Japanese words seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu and shitsuke.
Seiri: Tidiness, organisation. Refers to the practice of sorting through all the tools, materials, etc, in the work area and keeping only essential items. Everything else is stored or discarded. This leads to fewer hazards and less clutter to interfere with productive work. Once you have gotten rid of what you do not need and classified what you need according to the frequency, you can then apply Seiton.
Seiton or orderliness, facilitates the reduction of clutter and efficient access to material or tools by following the old adage “a place for everything and everything in its place”. Workers readily know when a tool is missing due to visual signals (for example, empty space on a sign-board).
Office Seiton
In certain offices, invoices, files and other important documents get misplaced because it is not clear what the process for payment of an invoice is and no-one keeps track of the movement of documents from one office to another. Annoying is an office-mate who removes a document from your office without bothering to tell you.
In some offices, forms for different purposes are put in one pile and it takes minutes for someone to find the right form. Seiton means arrange forms according to type and label them. It also means having a filing index and keeping files according to the index so that they can easily be retrieved.
It also entails filing computer documents in specific folders so that you can easily find them. Work must not stop because a particular officer is away from office. Workmates should still be able to find documents even in one’s absence.
When forms are arranged according to type, it will be easy to notice when they are running out and officers must arrange to replenish them. In an organised office, forms never run out.
Seiri means set in order and set limits. Arrange needed items so they are easy to find, use and return, to streamline production and eliminate time searching for them.
Seiton focuses on the need for an orderly workplace. “Orderly” in this sense means arranging the tools and equipment in an order that promotes work flow. Tools and equipment should be kept where they will be used, and the process should be ordered in a manner that eliminates extra motion.
The term neatness means getting things in order quickly and implies all the procedures you need. As long as you are using things, you need to find ways to eliminate these steps.
Zambia has reintroduced the ‘Keep Zambia Clean and Healthy’ campaign. For the campaign to be successful, Seiton has to be institutionalised.
Namucana.musiwa@careerprospectslimited.com




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