Continually Implementing the 5 S System

After working for Setpoint for almost 4 years now I have come to expect the continual 5 S clean up around the office and the shop floor.  This year I was tasked with cleaning up our internal Company Intranet site and no sooner had I started that when I was tasked with going through the 5 S’s of sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain of our website.  After we found so much unneeded stuff on our Intranet we wanted to make sure our website wasn’t filled with a bunch of old or outdated information.

Sorting though and looking at what you have on a website seems to take a while because not only are you cataloging what is there, you’re making decisions on its importance.  Working at a custom automation company there have been many projects that we have done over the years, and from a marketing standpoint I wanted to emphasize all the capabilities that we possess.  However, from a company standpoint I had to consider which capability was a critical core competence that we wanted our potential customers to understand vs. a capability that is more of a commodity that most automation companies possess.

Straightening up the site required that I carefully go though the website and make sure everything had a consistent look, feel, and were in the same places.  For instance the lead generation form was important.  I know that I don’t like it when I go to websites and struggle to find the lead generation form or even to find my way back to where I came from so in straightening the information I have tried to make sure everything is set up the same.  I also felt that it makes it easier to go to various web pages if there is some similarity in where to go to find certain things.  For instance, under the about section there better be information about the company like their history, management, and press releases.  That’s what I have come to expect on other sites so I made sure it was the same for mine.

Shine is a little different on a website since you don’t have floors to sweep and polish, but it is no less important.  In shining the site I looked at the feeling or look of each page.  Does it have a clean look to it?  Is it really crowded or is it empty?  Shining for the website became the overall look and feel.  It’s hard to find your way around a site that is crowded and has a lot of extra stuff shoved into every corner.

Standardize came easily after sorting and straightening.  Once the importance of items had been established, the standardization of placing the content onto the website in a consistent way leads to a standard look and feel on each page.  Because each item had been sorted and straightened and the website “shined” the standardization fell easily into place.

Now comes the time of sustaining the changes made as well as sustaining the standardized process of placing new items onto the website.  It would be all too easy to just say whew we made it through that, but that’s not what the Toyota Production System (TPS) is all about.  TPS is all about continual change, making changes all the time to add value, continue to learn, grow and get better at what you’re doing.  That’s why continually running through the 5 S’s of sort, straighten, shine, standardize & sustain is so important.  Each time you go through the steps there will be new items to look at and work on.