The Five S Program: Seiton / Straightening or setting in order

Almost two years ago, I started discussing the concept of the 5S program and Kaizen – two Japanese concepts that are employed by business in order to drive efficiency in the workplace. I started out with Seiri but then either forgot about it or didn’t have the time to follow it up. Tsk tsk.

Seiton is about order, neatness, and “everything in the right place.” Seiri and Seiton almost always go hand in hand, the first principle allows you to keep you what you need most and the second one ensures they are placed where you can easily reach them.

There should be a place for everything and everything should be in its place. The place for each item should be clearly labeled or demarcated. Items should be arranged in a manner that promotes efficient work flow, with equipment used most often being the most easily accessible. Workers should not have to bend repetitively to access materials. Each tool, part, supply, or piece of equipment should be kept close to where it will be used – in other words, straightening the flow path. Seiton is one of the features that distinguishes 5S from “standardized cleanup”. This phase can also be referred to as Simplifying.

It is time to arrange your workstation so that all essential items are within easy reach.

For me, I make sure that everything that I need daily is within easy reach – phone, of course, pen, notebook, calculator, printed copies of our methodologies, and my trusty mug of coffee – so that I can easily concentrate on my work. My copies of our methodologies are also in a file folder and placed on the uppermost tier of my multi-tiered document tray. Other methodologies are on the same tier, while additional readings are on the second or middle tier. The bottom tier is for miscellaneous documents.

This practice also extends to my virtual desktop. I’ve already shown an example in my previous post about this in this article.