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The 5S Process for Workplace Organization

Time spent looking for an important tool or document is time wasted. It’s a known fact that disorganized workplaces slow people down. By comparison, people make fewer mistakes in an organized setting and they’re more productive because there’s no time or effort spent searching for materials.

Sort and set in order 

You can put a workplace in order using a Japanese five-step process, known as 5S. Translated into English, the five S’s are: sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain.

When tackling a disordered workspace, it’s best to start by sorting through all tools and materials. Mark anything you don’t need with a red tag. Once you’ve documented all tagged items, decide if they should be stored or discarded. How to track your progress? Take before and after pictures!

Now that you’ve gotten rid of anything you don’t need, it’s time to organize the tools and materials that are essential to your job. Set these in order so they’re easy to find, use, and put away again. Remember, 5S is about saving time and effort so set tools and equipment in the most logical and easy-to-reach places. 

For example, a repairman might hang his tools on a row of hooks above his workspace in the order he tends to use them. Marking the items and their designated places with visual cues, like matching colors, can help keep everything in its place.

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