The Perils of Ignoring 5S in Offices


By : Daniel Markovitz, Markovitz Consulting

Note: This posting is from a guest Blogger, Dan Markovitz, founder and president of Markovitz Consulting a consulting firm in California. Dan has been quoted in, written for the Wall Street Journal, Industry Week and recently published a piece on the Superfactory website. I hope we'll have more contributions from Dan in the future. — Mark Graban

The benefits of 5S in a manufacturing environment are obvious and well-documented. In an office environment, however, the benefits are just as real — and the costs of ignoring them equally so.

Recently, I referred someone to a senior member at an executive search company. He's a perfect fit for their services: this company specializes in the recruitment of financial professionals, and he has a Stanford MBA, 15 years of experience, and tremendous analytical skills — and he's actively looking for a new job. A match made in heaven.

And yet, the search firm never called him. One week went by, two weeks, then three. No contact. When I followed up with the search firm, the headhunter said that she just lost the piece of paper on which she scribbled his information. He quite literally got lost in the shuffle.
Her desk is a disaster: papers strewn everywhere, terrible organization, and no standard procedure to sort through the piles and deal with the information that's been piling up. It's no wonder that she forgot about him.

As a headhunter, her “work in process” consists of job seekers and companies looking for employees. And yet her workspace is so disorganized that she literally lost the very thing that she should be working on

He ended up finding a job on his own. Her firm, however, not only lost short-term revenue, but a long-term relationship.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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