Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Creating Greater Visibility Through Workplace Transformation Initiative

                                                       BEFORE                              AFTER

Employees spend more than 90 % of their time with emails, meetings, phone calls; all are facilitated by the traditional workplace.It is the time we admit the fact that most of our workplaces still have ugly looks due to pathetic housekeeping standards. We tolerate an incredible amount of filth.Thye are cluttered with messy desks, unorganised records and lot of dirt. These all are good indicator of lack of our good and effective housekeeping sense. It gives a clear impression of an overload of work and lack of care taken by its employees. It is generally observed that we have abysmal standards of hygiene in workplace.

In this era of mounting complexity - with growing businesses and expanding customer base with ever increasing files, papers and physical records against squeezed office space, managing and keeping workplace utmost organised, clean and cluttered free calls for an enormously valuable skill. The organisation in such a fast phase competitive world, by chasing numbers -growing too swiftly, may end up losing sight of the customer.

How can we live in such filth. Why do we care most about our homes and not about the workplace where we actually pass more time compared to our home. Is it because that is someone else’s job.
It is high time for us to do something about it. Only we can save us from ourselves .It is about our attitudes and a rooted cultural behaviour.

In such a scenario, if we keep a close look at global best practices that could help improve the customer experience, it ultimately leads us to practice Five S, a Japanese concept – one of the basic tenets of lean manufacturing, used mainly on manufacturing shop floors around the world. Five S is a part of the kaizen family that talks about continuous innovation and improvement. It was originated in Japan as a work-environment enhancing measure, but gradually after experiencing immense benefits, a strong belief was developed that it as a visually-oriented exercise which is useful not just for improving the physical environment, but also for improving Total Quality Management (TQM) processes.

It is nothing but a quality initiative and workplace transformation exercise to keep the workplace in order and, when it is actually implemented across the organisation, it appears functional with many tangible benefits. The dominating principle of Five S is to create ownership for every object in the organisation, so that nothing is neglected.  More importantly the benefits are visible immediately and up front.

The five S's are: seiri (sorting out), seiton (systematic arrangement), seiso (spic-n-span),seiketsu (standardise) and shitsuke (self-discipline).   

Life at the workplace becomes simpler after Five S and that is proven fact.
  1. Clean, Hygienic and Transformed Workplace: Five S transforms workplace- an office that is clean, organised, tidy and neat makes the workplace more productive and work environment more conducive.
  2. Improved Record Retrieval Time: There is more science to file-keeping. Files are cross referenced in alphabetic order by date and by month –making retrieval far simpler. Thus it saves immense time which can be used in other productive activity, affecting the bottom line.
  3. Effective Employee Engagement: It is totally an employee driven initiative and It can be easily be followed by everybody from peon to president. The best thing about Five S is that it is extremely simple and yet powerful. It is a technique that involves small improvement suggestions on a regular basis rather than drastic changes very rarely.
  4. Building Culture of Change: As the improvements are made regularly and employees are awarded, a culture of change is built up within the company.
  5. Creation of Huge Free Space and Waste Management: Its implementation is nowhere easy .Each of the employee has to grudgingly give up their weekends to come in office and genuinely clean their workplace. One does not need to scrub office floors or wash used coffee mugs but one has to do everything else like empting out filing cabinets and drawers and retain only what is absolutely essential ,the organisation thus can free up huge amount of storage space.
  6. Immense Cost Saving: Five S contributes generously by making up huge savings as wastage costs are significantly reduced. Further there are usually no costs or minimal costs to actually make the improvements.
  7. Brand Improvement: Five S helps in enhancing enterprise image to customers, suppliers, employees, and management as the 5S condition of a work area is critical to the morale of employees and the basis of customers’ first impressions. The Five S practice not only helps to impress the customers but also to establish effective quality processes for good services and products.
In short,it is all about Implementation, Sustenance and Continuous Improvement.

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