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Lean Tip of the Day – De-Clutter to Allow Orderly Flow

In Lean Methodology, eliminating waste through organizing your workplace (or home) is a key principle.  It allows work to flow by removing obstructions.  Another word for this is de-cluttering, and the primary lean technique for de-cluttering is called a 5S, which stands for Sort, Straighten, Scrub, Systemize and Sustain (or Standardize).  A 5S happens in 2 phases – the first is to get rid of the junk (in an orderly and complete fashion) and the second is to create a system where there is a place for everything and everything stays in its place.  The steps, simply defined, are as follows:

  1. Sort

Choose your place for the 5S and divide the items into 3 categories, stuff to keep, stuff to do something with and stuff to get rid of.  You can start small with just a drawer, a cabinet or a closet.  No need to do an entire room or building, but if you are trying to really visualize increased flow in an area this is a great way to set up for a clean start.  Start small to get used to the process.  Take everything out of the area you are working on and sort it in accordance with the above categories, keep items, what can be given away, sold or donated and what is going to trash.

2.  Straighten

Determine the place for everything and put it in its place.  Items that are used frequently should be easily available, and items that should be handy but not in the way.  Make it visual – use labels or other ways of making it clear what goes where.

3.  Scrub

Clean it.  Really really clean it.  Make your mother proud.

4.  Systemize

Create a system to maintain the area in this de-cluttered, clean and organized fashion.  Establish processes and schedules; even check lists, with assigned responsibility ensuring all of your sorting, straightening and scrubbing goes for naught.

5.  Sustain!

Ahhh – the most difficult of the S’s.  But do it!! – not only sustain the increased flow in the area you have de-cluttered, but also make the act of 5’sing a sustained process in your organization and part of a sustained continuous improvement mentality in your work place and life.

What is the point of this?  It is good to figure out what you have so that you don’t keep buying more .  Getting rid of things you no longer need creates space and allows you to function more efficiently.  Doing this could give you an opportunity to downsize your space, whether it is in your office (do you need all the storage) or at home (do you really need that extra bookshelf with all the knick-knacks and books you will never read again?).

So, what do you do with all the things you no longer have use for?  You could donate them, sell them on eBay or Craiglist, list them on Freecycle, give them away as gifts, or have a garage sale.

More on continuous improvement soon….


What we do…

We help businesses, from the single entrepreneur to medium size companies become lean and green, efficient and sustainable, save money and save the planet.  That’s the 30 second elevator pitch.

We will help you to identify and eliminate 10 different types of waste in your organization.  We will guide you on the path to going green or getting “greener”, and help you to get certified and recognized for what you are doing.

Part of our corporate vision statement is: “PM Perspective is a green conscious consulting organization, providing services to our clients that raise their environmental friendly practices and consciousness while increasing their bottom line.”

Yveatte is a natural born “tree-hugger” and has had a long time focus in her life on how to live in such a way as to consciously minimize negative impact on the planet and be a conscious and educated consumer.  I have had a growing awareness of my impact on the planet (and how it may affect my children) and spent many years in corporate America witnessing waste of all kinds.  As Yveatte focused on working for the environment, I focused on a vision of a more efficient way of doing everyday business.

Together we have developed Simple Lean & Green for Your Business. 

Simply put, we come in, share some info on the 10 types of waste, (we like to think of it as raising consciousness – our gift to the planet and you), and with you, think through how you might identify and eliminate these types of waste in your business.  We’ve taken the 7 types of waste identified in Lean methodology and put them together with the hot topic wastes of water, energy and trash.  You are the expert in your business – we can help you look at it from a different perspective where you may be able to reduce your consumption, whether it be material or incremental.  Save some money and help the planet too.

More and more consumers are choosing businesses that are “green”.  We’re not talking organic produce here, we mean “business”!  Any kind of business.  Would you like your office, practice, restaurant, gym, spa, salon, etc. to be considered green?  Of course!  Would you like to see where you are wasting time, space, energy, anything in your organization?  We help you to do that. 

We also love to do presentations for groups on Lean and Green in your business and your home.  If you belong to a group that needs a speaker on this topic, please contact us.

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