Bring order to increase productivity

When Jean-Pierre Goulet, business consultant and engineer BDC, visits to customers for the first time, it can often tell at a glance if it is possible to improve their productivity.

It suffices to observe that the work area to see if they look untidy and neglected.

“When I see supplies, equipment and misplaced documents or a work environment where lying messy scrap and obsolete inventory, it almost invariably denotes productivity problems deeper, says Goulet. It is not easy to tell a new client workspaces clean, but it is often the place to start. ”

To make an efficient and quality work, you need a clean and safe environment, where tools are easily accessible, says Goulet. This allows employees – whether in a factory, office or shop – to focus on their immediate task without seeing their work hampered by organizational problems.

One of the favorite tools of Mr. Goulet to help customers create workplaces is lightweight and functional management philosophy called Japanese 5S, which was translated into French by the acronym ORDER – ordering, storage, dust, make clear, and be rigorous. (The Japanese equivalent seiri, seiton, seiso, Seiketsu and shitsuke).


Goulet says, companies that do not adequately classify their materials and tools suffer huge productivity losses. Mr. Goulet advised them to sort things they use on a daily basis, monthly and yearly, and keep on hand only those that are required immediately. The rest should be labeled and stored elsewhere.


Objects should be stored in a functional way even if it means investing in the purchase of filing cabinets, shelves or storage furniture. Visual aids (vignettes, drawn on the floor, etc.). Should also be used to indicate to employees instead of each item.


A clean working environment is an efficient working environment. Dirt, waste and residues should be removed methodically, according to cleaning schedules daily, monthly and annual.

Make it obvious

Teams should meet periodically to establish rules and set standards of work (type and description of materials and tools used, how information is communicated between group members, etc.).

Be rigorous

After the key elements of 5S were implemented, a system of internal audit should be established to ensure that the working methods work well and that they are maintained. Inspections should be conducted regularly and feedback on process improvement suggestions should be forwarded to the appropriate parties.

One of the major challenges facing companies is the fact that the “clutter” is not always visible, especially when it comes to systems of information technology and communications. In the work environment highly automated today, an office may, on the surface, projecting a crisp picture when in reality its computer systems are chaotic. If employees are unable to find their data files, if the tools are not managed and maintained, and if the online functionality is poor, productivity will suffer.

Suggests that when customers apply the 5S, Mr. Goulet gets a positive reaction almost unanimous. However, it happens that high performing companies are skeptical at first. “Just because their plants are well ordered and productivity is at the rendezvous, many managers feel they can rest on their laurels, says Goulet. However, the biggest gains we have achieved have been in business already profitable, that have managed to further increase their productivity. “


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