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Thursday, 29 January 2009

CANDO (5S) in the Office

by Angela Robson of Nicholson Consultancy

In our previous article I looked at the seven deadly office wastes. In this article I’m going to explain a technique for removing some of the wastes for your business. Workplace organisation is about looking at the environment in which you work, to see how you can improve it. We use the acronym CANDO, which stands for “cleanup”, “arrange”, “neatness”, “discipline” and “ongoing improvement”.

C is for CLEANUP: firstly, we remove all items (accumulated dirt and grime, paper, furniture, memos, manuals, files, and book) that are not required or are unnecessary within the near future. Such items are waste, or lead to waste. (Don’t forget to check the contents of drawers!) They take up space, lead to extra walking around, and lead to waste of time whilst searching for needed items buried under piles of less important material. Cleanup also includes fixing – office equipment that is broken must either be thrown away or repaired.

A is for ARRANGING: "a place for everything" – arranging the workplace and its associated equipment in the optimal locations. The goal is to make the workplace not only good and easy to work in, but also one where anyone can easily locate the necessary items. Reaching, bending and walking are minimised; items are easy to hand, labelled, classified, and easily visible.

N is for NEATNESS: "everything in its place" and ready to go. The simple fact is that the cleaner or tidier a location is, the easier it is to see if something is out of place. Neatness has a direct impact on productivity since needless searching for lost documents, files and pens will be eliminated.

D is for 'DISCIPLINE'. This step aims to keep the office in a "Managing Director's visit" state all the time. The thought here is that it is easier to keep things going, than to stop and restart over again - like the momentum of a train. This is not discipline in the army sense, but rather getting into the routine or mindset of keeping up the standards and procedures established in earlier steps.

O is for ONGOING IMPROVEMENT. This is maintaining the tempo of continuous improvement. Here we should not only be concerned with tackling obvious symptoms but in getting to the root cause.

Once you have your workplace sorted, you can then move on to look at how to improve individual processes.

Angela Robson is a Director of Nicholson Consultancy Limited, specialising in Business Strategy and Lean Thinking. Angela contributes to the e-zine, “Better Today”, with information for those who are interested in making improvements in their business. If you’re interested in Lean Manufacturing, visit Nicholson Consultancy’s blog, Manufacturing Times.

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