5S: Step 2: Straighten - Heather Santo

5S: Step 2: Straighten

By Heather Santo | 5S

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illustration of 5S methodology

Keeping your office and workspace organized is critical to your success. You will save time, money and be more productive. Can’t go wrong! Thus far you have already sorted out all of the items in your workspace and decided which ones will go, which ones will stay and which ones will get homes elsewhere. If you have not yet completed this step, you can read more on Sorting here.

The next step is to get everything Straightened. This is a fairly involved process and is much more difficult on a larger scale. For a small business owner it will be much easier to complete this step. Everything that is necessary is now in the work area, but is it in the correct place?

Your goal is to take as many wasted steps out of the process as possible. For example, if you have a multitude of books that you frequently reference for your business, but not enough to keep them on the desk they should be as close as possible. You will waste steps if you have to go into other rooms or onto a separate floor. The goal is for you to have everything you need within a perimeter of your Gemba or workspace.

The easiest way to decide if you are walking too much is actually to have someone else observe you to see where you waste space or to track it yourself. When I was going through the 5S process, the 5S team’s initial job was to observe me for hours at a time. They followed me everywhere with the exception of the bathroom and break-room. Everywhere I walked, they mapped it out. Each time I got items from the hall, had to go into the aisles, walk to the counter, walk to the freezer etc… As much as it was annoying the results were amazing. It was unbelievable the way things were laid out for us to work. We were walking around everywhere because everything we needed to complete our jobs was all over the place. I actually got to see a map of my steps and how many times I walked over the same spaces.

For a small business owner, this also refers to things that you do that require you to look things up, make multiple phone calls for help etc… This work is to be outsourced to someone else. Now you will only spend time doing what is actually your job.

If you need to bring another item into your work area for a small period of time, the item is brought into the workspace and as soon as it has fulfilled its purpose, it is to be immediately returned. This step is absolutely crucial to the process working.

Once you find out how to lay out everything out it must have a home. This phrase is the mantra of 5s:

There is a place for everything and everything in its place.

Your homework is to have someone watch your steps for a few hours or if your job is not that physically active, track it yourself for hours at a time. Is everything where it needs to be?  Once you decide the proper placement, we will move onto to part 2 of Straightening.

Did you observe some tasks that were wasting your time? Find out more ways on how outsourcing can help you. Grab my FREE Report: 10 Ways a Virtual Assistant Can Save You Time and Money.

Footer Heather Santo is proudly an A Real Change Certified Virtual Assistant with over 15 years of customer service experience via face-to face, telephone and internet. She also spent time in corporate America as a Human Resources Manager performing generalist duties and specializing in recruiting.
She now enjoys using her talents to serve her clients and help them to operate their businesses efficiently.

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