Lean thinking is not just for factories. 5S is an easy to implement process to organize any workplace. With a little pro bono coaching, my new friends at Holland Physical Therapy have completed their first 5S project. Here’s how we did it:
We started out with this quick one-page lesson in 5S, the seven wastes, and Plan-Do-Check-Act. As you might expect from its name, 5S is a five-step process. It is a pathway to a clean, uncluttered, organized workplace reducing waste and improving productivity:
2) Set In Order
Introducing the seven wastes (defects, overproduction, transportation, waiting, inventory, motion, and over processing) sharpened the focus on waste reduction. Introducing the Plan-Do-Check-Act continuous improvement cycle reinforced 5S as on on-going, every day commitment, not a one-time event.
Next, with a shared understanding of terminology and principles, we did a quick walk through of the clinic. Five of the seven wastes seemed to apply the clinic’s lack of organization…we could not find examples of overproduction and over processing. Cleanliness was not an issue. However, the Holland Physical Therapy team was greatly concerned about not finding something when needed and the time wasted looking for it.
The cable column was selected as the initial application area.
We first sorted through the area and set aside what was not needed. Then we organized and labeled everything used at the cable column. Masking tape was used to temporarily identify parking spots for the many accessories. The team agreed to sustain the cable column 5S through an end of day tidy up: anything out of place would be put back to where it belongs. After a day or so, the team assessed the area, made improvements, and moved onto the next 5S application area. P-D-C-A.
Through 5S, the team at Holland Physical Therapy is on their way to better utilize their space and easily find what they need when they need it.