WSJ Article on 5S Misses the Point November 7, 2008Posted by Jeff Fuchs in lean office.
Tags: 5S, lean office
The October 27th issue of the Wall Street Journal ran an article – front page below the fold – on 5S. Now normally, I’d be overjoyed that lean gets front page treatment in the mainstream press. Unfortunately, the article was about as poorly researched as they come.
The article describes 5S at Kyocera, and highlights outlining and labeling, the elimination of clutter, how management communicates 5S to get compliance, and area inspections. I read the article twice and could not find the word “waste”, a single principle of lean, the involvement of workers in the area, or the business results of Kyocera’s draconian, top-driven approach.
The WSJ goes on to describe a 2002 application of 5S at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. It states:
Employees created new places for everything to eliminate the need to hunt for things. But doctors and nurses in Mr. Boze’s pod kept hanging the stethoscope in its old place on a hook, instead of putting it in the drawer marked “stethoscope.” “Eventually,” says Mr. Boze, “we had to remove the hook.”
Hello? Hey, who says the spot the employees created was the best location for the stethoscope? Why are you hiding a common instrument in a drawer instead of out in the open where it can be visually managed?
You can read the whole article here at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122505999892670159.html?mod=todays_us_page_one
I watched the letters section for a few days afterwards, expecting Jim Womack to swoop in and unleash a scathing rebuke. But alas, no Lords of Lean stepped up to set readers straight. And I let a golden opportunity pass by.
Hey, WSJ. I’m watching you.