Update – My “Office 5S Gone Wrong” video has gotten more than 200,000 views on YouTube since I created it back in 2010…
You might remember my blog post from 2007 titled “Bad Lean/5S Hits the UK Media.”
It featured a link to a news story from the UK that included the picture at left. An accounting firm was implementing “Office 5S” in a very top-down and, arguably, misguided way, including marking where your keyboard, phone, and computer monitor go. You might also remember my criticism of Kyocera's Office 5S program from 2008.
This is an illustration of directly copying a tool without thinking through why that tool is helpful. Does it help to label where your phone or keyboard goes? Probably not. It's an example of directly copying tools from a factory in a way that might not be appropriate, it's also likely to tick people off in the organization.
You might also have seen the first video animation that I did last week about the waste of getting new recycling bins. I've created a new video that shows what a “bad office 5S” scene might look like… something that's “L.A.M.E.” not Lean.
Here is the new video, with the transcript below it for those without sound or those who can't play YouTube videos at work (but it's much funnier hearing the computer voices, I think). I hope you don't have anything like this going on in your organization. Add comments if you have any stories to share.
Thanks to Dan Markovitz for giving input on this script and its revisions.
Hello Anne, are you excited about our new Office 5S program?
I can hardly contain myself. This is going to be much better than our Office TQM initiative and the Office Six Sigma program, I am sure. Woo hoo, sign me up.
I'm glad you are excited.
Yes, I'm sure you can hear the excitement in my voice. Can I ask a question?
Normally no, but just this once, go ahead.
Who told you to do 5S in the office?
Our consultant did.
And what does the consultant specialize in?
He teaches people how to do 5S.
Maybe you have heard this expression — “When all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail?”
The consultant says you must mark where your hammer goes in your workspace. It makes you more efficient. The best factories do this.
Hello? This is an office. I don't have a hammer at my desk.
See, you would know the hammer is missing if you had a tape outline showing where the hammer and your other tools go.
No no no. But I am a marketing specialist. I create marketing proposals. I do not have a hammer.
Then you can put tape around your computer, your monitor, your phone, your stapler, your coffee cup, your purse, your mouse, the tape, the staple remover, that book, and those paper clips.
Why would I have to put tape around my monitor?
So it does not get lost. We will always know where the monitor is. You will not waste time looking for it. Our office will be more efficient.
Has anyone in our office ever have a monitor go missing?
I don't know. You must do this. It is on my goals and objectives to implement 5S.
So I will open my desk drawer and put tape around each of my pens and pencils
Ah. The consultant says there will be a strict limit of two pens per desk. Any more than two pens is waste. We must not waste money. We must be lean.
Do I have to put tape around my family photos?
I'm glad you asked. You are no longer allowed to personalize your workspace. We must be lean.
How is this helping me do a better job?
The consultant says it will.
He was very adamant about it.
He yelled and screamed a lot in Japanese.
How do you know he is right?
I'm sure he is right, we paid him a lot of money.
Look — It takes us 6 weeks to get a new proposal out to a client. Maybe we should work on fixing that, you know, reducing the cycle time. Maybe we will get more clients. We can grow the business.
We must do 5S.
Do you even know What the five Ss are?
The five Ss are 5 words that start with S. They are: Straighten, Salami, Stopwatch, Sasquatch, and Salmonella.
That doesn't sound right.
The words are all Japanese. We must learn them. We are a learning organization. Don't you want to learn?
I still don't understand how this will help.
The consultant said this was very important, we will do the 5 esses or maybe even 6.
Will this make the organization more effective?
Effectiveness is not one of the 5Ss. That starts with the letter E. So it is not important right now.
But isn't the gaol of 5S to improve effectiveness?
Our lean consultant did not explain that to me. I only know that a successful five ess program is the first step. It is always the first step. Always.
Yikes. I need a cup of coffee.
You can find the coffee in the new 5S approved location. But I am afraid that you can no longer drink the coffee at your desk. That would be a 5S violation.
Really? A 5S violation? Why?
You ask why a lot. I will sign you up for the five whys lean training.
But this is absurd.
You must follow the lean rules. Now I must go and fill out my 5S audit sheet. Goodbye.
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