Defined as the Japanese business philosophy for promoting constant improvement within the workplace, Kaizen continues to prove as an asset to the Six Sigma methodology. The term Kaizen first originated in Japan after World War II within the production and manufacturing industries. With fewer resources to work with, the Japanese developed this philosophy as a way to reduce production waste and find ways to operate more efficiently. Today, Six Sigma employees use the Kaizen method within their own fields to further enhance their business processes, reduce overall waste, and deter production defects. Combining the discipline and structure of Kaizen with the data-driven approach of Six Sigma, professionals now have the perfect resources to prevent errors within their business processes.
Kaizen, like most business improvement methods, is comprised of varying stages. We refer to these stages as the 5S’s. Translating the original terms from Japanese, the 5S’s are ‘Sort’, ‘Straighten’, ‘Shine’, ‘Standardize’, and ‘Sustain’. In this article, we will discuss ‘Shine’, what it is, and to implement it into the workplace.
What Is ‘Shine’?
Shine refers to cleaning and organizing the workplace, daily. Following the first two S’s of ‘Sort’ and ‘Straighten’, Shine is naturally the next step. First, employees separate and removed unnecessary items from the process (Sort). Then, they arrange the required items in a clearly marked fashion, where they are easily found (Straighten). Now, employees will practice ‘Shine’ by cleaning the workplace, equipment, and machines on a daily basis. This helps maintain an orderly work environment, as well as preventing production defects from occurring. For many employees, Shine is where they take the most pride within their careers. At this stage, employees work together to maintain the effort they contributed in the first two process.
Assuring their work environment is clean and orderly improves the production process efficiency, reduces waste, prevents error, and even increases safety. When properly maintaining equipment and machines, it is easier to be proactive in preventing production and manufacturing errors. Additionally, by cleaning the workplace daily, such as sweeping floors, removing trash, and organizing assembly parts, employees’ safety increases. This is primarily due to the decrease in risk factors, such as slipping on a wet floor, or losing control of a malfunctioning part.
Like the previous stages of the Kaizen philosophy, the best way to implement Shine into the workplace is to hire supervisors who inspect the area routinely. However, unlike the previous two stages, Shine is easier to integrate as it focuses on maintaining a clean workspace. For some employers, the most effort into implementing Kaizen falls within Sort and Straighten. This is due to a consistent, disciplined approach to managing organization and analyzing what parts are not needed for production. When practicing Shine, employees maintain the currently organized workspace, clean machines and equipment, and ensure safe working condition.