Congratulations! The first three 3’s of 5S are now complete. The final steps of 5S, Standardize and Sustain, are the elements of this process that differentiate it from other organizing methods.
In the Standardize step of the 5S Organizing aspect of Lean Daily Management, the workspace goes from simply organized to efficiently streamlined. I recommend living with your new space for a few days before beginning this step. You may find that things can be moved or adjusted to increase efficiency even more. Once we begin this process and see how attainable change can be, it becomes almost addictive. You may see even more ways in which you can boost productivity, simply by living in your new space. For instance, you may find that you can reduce excess motion by mapping the space. For more about eliminating the waste of motion, read our blog post ‘Deadly Waste: #3 Unnecessary Motion‘ on the subject of mapping.
Test Your Standardized Layout
Once you are certain of the layout, it is time to standardize the space. A good test of a truly standardized workspace is whether you could direct someone to find, say, a file on your computer or desk drawer over the phone. If you can recall the item’s location and direct them to it quickly, you’ve standardized hit the goal!
Methods of standardizing can include labels, use of color to indicate certain categories, wall signage, clearly marked directives to others coming into the space, along with an effective method for communicating when you are available to talk and when you are not.
Standardizing may take some trial and error before you have truly perfected the step. Sometimes you may feel that a system you have set in place is really fantastic, and then discover that you the system has been simply over-processed, which is one of the 7 Deadly Wastes. Sometimes the simplest option is actually the best one.
For example, you may set up a filing system with very specific reference file tabs; this seems like a great idea in the beginning, since you have separated categories in a very detailed way. But the reality is that things are harder to file, leading you to simply pile them on your desk instead of putting them away. Unless you will be referencing those files constantly, broader categories will do just as well, be easier to put away and encourage you to keep the space tidy. An example might be creating a tab called “Taxes 2016” rather than “W-9 2016”.
Another example is color-coding everything in very specific file or paper colors. While this works as a great visual cue as to where things belong, over-doing it can lead to giving up on the system, since you may run out of a certain color or simply become busy and forget to follow the system. Again, the simplest method is most often the easiest to follow. We like the cheap, arm-green hanging files and simple, manila file inserts best.
Here are Some Useful Office Organizing Products:
The great thing is that Standardizing is a continuous process. Since you spend hours a day in your office and will be actively testing your organizing processes, you will quickly see what is working and what is not, and adjust accordingly.