Posted by: JC Gatlin | November 7, 2009

CASE STUDY: Understanding the 5S System in your daily life

This is based on an article from http://www.whereincity.com/articles/business/6639.html

Everyone can understand 5S better if the basic concepts are related to daily home life, rather than just within the context of the work environment. The following conversation happened at a Problem Solving Workshop for a construction company. It clearly explains the concept of 5S.

A faculty member of the seminar is addressing approximately 12 superintendents and other personnel in the residential and commercial construction industry.

FACULTY I would like a volunteer to come up front, sit in a chair, close his eyes, relax and answer some questions. When answering these questions, you can only reply ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

One of the superintendents raised his hand and came forward as a volunteer. He took a seat in the front of the class beside the faculty member. The faculty member handed him a pen.  After some embarrassed laughter, the superintendent closed his eyes and relaxed.

FACULTY Thank you Mr. Harper. Now for the first question. Do you practice 5S in your personal life?
VOLUNTEER Not really…  I never thought…
FACULTY Just answer yes or no please. Do you practice 5S in your personal life?
VOLUNTEER No.
FACULTY Do you have a wallet?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you keep $10,000 in cash in it?
VOLUNTEER No. (more laughter from the others)
FACULTY Do you keep up to $5 in cash in your wallet?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you normally keep a pen on you?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you have a pen on you now?
VOLUNTEER (Hesitating, he lifted a hand and patted his upper chest  before answering. The pen was slipped between the buttons of the placket below his collar.) Yes.
FACULTY Based on your salary, could you afford to spend $20 on 10 ball point pens?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Even though your salary allows it, would you spend $20 on 10 ball point pens?
VOLUNTEER No.
FACULTY Do you wear a watch on your left wrist?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you ever wear your watch on your right wrist?
VOLUNTEER No.
FACULTY Based on your salary, can you afford to buy a new watch?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY If you had another watch, would you wear one on each wrist?
VOLUNTEER No. (more laughter from the others)
FACULTY Do you have a calendar at home?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you carry your calendar with you?
VOLUNTEER Well, I have a calendar in my…
FACULTY Answer yes or no…. Yes or no, please.
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you carry a printed wall calendar with you?
VOLUNTEER No.
FACULTY Would you carry 5 printed wall calendars with you, one for each of the last 5 years?
VOLUNTEER No.
FACULTY Do you have 20 pairs of shoes at home?
VOLUNTEER No.
FACULTY Do you have at least one pair?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Based on your salary, can you afford to stock ten pounds of salt in your kitchen?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY If your best friend offered to give you an elephant, free of cost, would you accept it?
VOLUNTEER No. (more laughter from the others)
FACULTY Why? Are you concerned with storage and cost of maintenance?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do  you subscribe to a morning newspaper delivery service?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you keep the newspapers from the last year in your garage?
VOLUNTEER No.
FACULTY Do you keep the newspapers from the last year in a storage closet?
VOLUNTEER No.
FACULTY Do you keep the newspapers from the last year at all?
VOLUNTEER No.
FACULTY Do you recycle the newspaper daily?
VOLUNTEER Yes, for the most part.
FACULTY Do you store broken toys or ripped socks?
VOLUNTEER No.
FACULTY Can you please give me your pen?

The superintendent  immediately reached toward his upper chest and slipped the pen from his shirt placket. He handed it to the faculty member.

FACULTY You took the pen from your shirt with your eyes closed. How did you know the pen was there? Do you always keep it there?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY But sometimes you keep the pen in the back pocket of your jeans?
VOLUNTEER No.
FACULTY Can you make coffee in the morning?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you have to search through all the kitchen cabinets for coffee grains ?
VOLUNTEER No.
FACULTY Do you keep the coffee grains in the same location in the kitchen?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you confuse the coffee container with the container for cool-aid mix?
VOLUNTEER No.
FACULTY Is the coffee container marked differently than the cool-aid mix?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you clean the house once a week?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Does your house cleaning include dusting the furniture and TV, mopping the tile and vacuuming the carpets?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you always do these things when you clean your home?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you wear washed clothes?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you have a car?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you change the oil every 3,000 miles?
VOLUNTEER (chuckle) Yes.
FACULTY If the engine light comes on, do you have the car serviced?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY If you have a problem with your health, do you go to the doctor?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you always check your pay check to ensure that you were paid the correct amount?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you have a home budget?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you maintain accounts for savings and expenses, and try to control the expenses wherever required?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY When you’re driving on the highway, you drive in the right-hand lane?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY But sometimes you drive in the left-hand lane if you don’t feel like driving in the right-hand lane?
VOLUNTEER No, never.
FACULTY Do you smoke in areas designated as “No Smoking?”
VOLUNTEER Well, I don’t….
FACULTY Yes or no.
VOLUNTEER No.
FACULTY Would you give advice to a friend who is making a mistake that could hurt himself or others?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you turn-off the lights when you’re not at home?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you turn off the water when you’re finished using it?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Do you have to think about turning off the water or read instructions before turning the faucet?
VOLUNTEER No.
FACULTY Do you follow a morning routine that allows you to get to work on time?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY When a co-worker says, “Good morning,” do say, “Good morning” back?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY When you read a good book or an article do you recommend it to your best friend?
VOLUNTEER Yes.
FACULTY Thank you very much. You can take your seat now.

The superintendent opened his eyes and returned to his seat and the faculty member addressed the room.

FACULTY Gentlemen, Mr. Harper answered all my questions and I am sure that all his answers were true – except for one. The only wrong answer was the first one:  Do you practice 5S in your personal life? All the answers that he gave proved beyond doubt that he is practicing the concepts of 5S daily, as a way of life and habit, probably without even knowing the technique and jargon. Mr. Harper sorts, straightens, sweeps, standardizes and sustains the discipline to all of this very well – as do we all.If we go through the questions and answers individually once again, with reference to the 5S concepts explained in the next chapter, we’ll see that he is almost the PERFECT 5S MAN.

Similarly, like the superintendent answering the questions, we’re all following the concepts of a 5S system in our personal lives. None of us would answer any of the questions very differently because almost all of them spoke to a common habit, or second nature. We all pretty much do the same things in the same way in our personal lives. We pretty much all follow the same pattern.  What we have to do is extend the same habits in our personal life to our workplace, whether it’s an office, a hospital, a manufacturing plant or a bank.

It is possible. It will take time and practice. It may be difficult to do at first. But once you commit to setting a 5S system in your work environment – and by committing that means taking the extra step to be disciplined to that system – it will happen.

© November 2009 Homebuilding Partners, Inc.   twitter-logo

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Responses

  1. […] CASE STUDY: Understanding the 5S System in your daily life dal blog Lean Homebuilding di JC Gatlin, dove l’autore spiega i concetti di 5S applicate in tutte le attività della vita quotidiana… (traduzione automatica) […]

    • This is really good.

      Vishal Phalak

  2. quite easy for anyone to understand & make them think – “Possible at home why not at office, it is where we spend most of our time”

    Sathya


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