I confess that we designers and creatives tend to obsess about our tools — the ones we have and the ones we could have. While these tools undoubtedly aid us in our work, there’s one simple, free tool that can be more effective in helping with work efficiency than anything you could spend money on: organization.
Cluttered and disorganized environments cause more stress and wasted time. They also cause the output of a workspace is to be more unpredictable in terms of quality and quantity. With this in mind, organization can be a topic that is difficult to quantify. That’s where the 5S Visual Management System comes into play. Developed in Japan, the 5S System thoroughly analyzes any workspace to show what areas need strengthening in terms of visual management.
The 5S Visual Management System
The system breaks the aspects of organization down into five categories to be examined and controlled in order. The sections are Sort (Seiri), Set in Order (Seiton), Shine/Clean (Seiso), Standardize (Seiketsu), and Sustain/Discipline (Shitsuke).
- Sort seperates what is necessary and what isn’t. It has also been called “The fine art of throwing away junk.”
- Set in Order takes the necessary and places it in its rightful spot—making sure that it is easily accessible.
- Shine/Clean makes certain that properly placed items are clean. If there’s a persistent source of dirt, find and remove it.
- Standardize involves creating an easy system of repeated tasks that will measure and maintain the organization of the workspace currently.
- Sustain/Discipline takes the repeated tasks of upkeep and turns them into habits for everyone involved. This step will take the longest amount of time, but with simple motivation it is very achievable.
The 5S Visual Management System has proven to be an effective way of taking a workspace and moving it to the next level in terms of efficiency. Some of the world’s largest companies even implement it into their spaces. As MJM has recently moved into its new location, this is definitely something we are working towards to keep our area effective and continue creating great work.