By Jon Miller | Post Date: March 21, 2006 8:31 PM | Comments: 6
"I know where everything is." How many times have you heard (or given) this rejoinder to "please 5S your desk"? It's hard to argue the logic of "cluttered desk, cluttered mind" when a desk is an emotionally charged personal space, too often nearly a shrine adorned with family photos, sports team paraphernalia, and toy mythical creatures.
"Being in control of your office space saves time" says this article and offers some interesting statistics to back it up.
A 2005 study commissioned by DYMO of Connecticut (a maker of office labeling systems and not exactly a disinterested and objective third party) identified that:
- More than half of managers in America consider desk cleanliness when conducting salary reviews
The same study found the following spread in the degree of desk tidiness:
- 49% are "professional but relaxed" with a few small, neat stacks
So only 7% of the desk in American offices have anything resembling proper 5S... that explais a lot of things. Since 5S makes waste and abnormality visible, there's a lot of hidden waste waiting to be uncovered and eliminated by office kaizen activity at 93% of American offices (assuming the spread above is evenly distributed across companies).
In the same article professional office organizer Janet Nusbaum identifies e-mail as a source of disorganization and wasted time. Essentially she recommends not letting e-mail set the agenda for your day, and preparing at the end of the day for the next day's priorities. The Lean parallels would be one-piece flow of office work and not allowing interruptions (e-mails) to create WIP (half-finished tasks) while you answer e-mails, and also the idea of external preparation from SMED to know in advance what you need to start your next day. We've seen again and again that when you keep the work flowing one at a time you minimize clutter and make 5S upkeep much easier.
Citing the 80/20 rule (Pareto principle) that only 20% of what comes across your desk you will really need, another professional office organizer Julie Mahan espouses "when it doubt, throw it out" just as in Sorting with 5S. She is quoted:
The physics of clutter is that it will come into your office without your assistance but will not go away without your assistance.
This is true. The second law of thermodynamics states that if no energy enters or leaves the system then the potential energy of the state will always be less than that of the initial state in all energy exchanges, and entropy (the degree of disorder in the system) increases. You do work (organize) to increase the potential energy again. But when you transfer energy by doing work some energy is lost as heat and this increases the entropy of the overall system.
For example when you wind a clock the energy it take to wind it is transferred to the wound clock spring as potential energy, and some energy is lost as heat and entropy increases. When the spring unwinds and turns into kinetic energy heat is lost again and entropy increases.
Do you ever wonder why things always get cluttered again after you've cleaned and organized? It's a law of the universe, and you can't break it. If you do nothing, you've already lost. Clutter prevails. You can't win against entropy. You can only fight it. You can't even break even. Entropy will always increase. You need to keep adding energy into the system (organizing). The flow of energy maintains order. By adding energy into a system you create organization. That's what 5S is.
Fight entropy. 5S your desk. It might affect your raise.Comments are moderated to filter spam and inappropriate content. There may be a delay before your comment is published.