Columnists Features

Kaizen and the Keep Zambia clean, healthy campaign

KAIZEN is Japanese for “change for the better” or “improvement”; the English translation is “continuous improvement” or “continual improvement”.
In the last three articles, the focus was on Kaizen and this is such an important, yet easy to implement programme, and the discussion will continue. Kaizen management is made up of three components:
1. The Japanese 5S
2. Standardisation
3. Muda Elimination
The Japanese 5S will be explained in today’s article and will be concluded next week. Thereafter, we shall discuss standardisation and, after that, we shall look at Muda, which is a Japanese word that means wastage. Kaizen can help eliminate Muda forever.
According to the Wikipedia Free English Dictionary, 5S is the name of a workplace organisation method that uses a list of five Japanese words: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu and shitsuke.
Translated into English, they all start with the letter S. The list describes how to organise a work space for efficiency and effectiveness by identifying and storing the items used, maintaining the area and items, and sustaining the new order.
The decision-making process usually comes from a dialogue about standardisation, which builds understanding among employees on how they should do the work.
The Japanese 5S is a system that can also be applied at household level and if children are taught about it from a tender age, there would be reduced diseases that are caused by dirt and germs and there would also be enhanced productivity at enterprise level.
What do these five Japanese words stand for?
Seiri means sort. It means sorting out what you need from what you do not need and keeping only necessary items. It is about removing unnecessary items and giving them away or disposing of them properly. Items that you do not need can cluster your work space and prevent you from being efficient and effective.
Take the time you take to get ready for work in the morning, for instance. There are some people who do not take long to get ready while others almost take eternity.
For some of those who cannot get ready on time, it is not just about indecision in terms of what to wear but sometimes it is because they cannot find what they want to wear as everything is put together – clothes that they currently wear and clothes that they have not worn for over five years. Once you have sorted out what you need from what you do not need, you are then ready for the next stage, Seiton.
Seiton means systematic arrangement. This can also be translated as “set in order”, “straighten”, or “streamline”. Seiton means that there should be a place for everything and everything should be in its place. Arrange all necessary items so they can be easily selected for use.
Where there is seiton, your colleagues will be able to find forms, tools, files and any other work items even when you are not there because there is a systematic arrangement of items. Seiton helps you to prevent loss and waste of time and also makes the workflow smooth and easy.
The third S, seison, means clean or shine. This can also be translated as “sweep”, “sanitise” or “scrub”. It requires that an employee cleans his or her workplace completely and uses cleaning as inspection.
I was delighted to learn that the government has reintroduced the Keep Zambia clean and healthy Campaign and this column will look at the campaign in more detail next week.
Seiketsu means standardise while Shitsuke means sustain.
This column will also look at Seiketsu and Shitsuke in more detail in the next article.

Facebook Feed