Application of 5s Principles to Tackle Covid

Put 5S principles in place to avoid COVID entering your workplace! Yes, you have read it correctly. Those who don’t know may ask what is ‘5S’? It is a concept of ‘Lean Management’, simple to understand and apply, yet very effective in improving workplace efficiency. It is based on 5 principles starting with the letter “S”. These are 5 Japanese terms called: Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Set-in-order), Seiso (Shine), Seiketsu (Standardize) and Shitsuke (Sustain).

The concept of ‘5S’ can be implemented at any place be it in the shop floor or our homes. In our view to make it simple: the present pandemic situation is apt to learn the concept of ‘5S’.

The 1st ‘S’ : Seiri (Sort) is simply segregating the wanted and the unwanted and keeping them separate. Drawing an analogy to the COVID situation, we may say Quarantine/Self Quarantine is being implemented to avoid the spread of the virus.

The 2nd ‘S’ : Seition (Set-in-order/Systematize) is an extension of first principle where all sorted items are arranged, labelled, tagged, distinguished and kept at places of use. Present situation of distinguishing affected areas into ‘red’, ‘green’ zones or marking places in shops/public places or even factories is an application of the 2nd principle. PEEP (Place for Everything and Everything in its Place) is the tagline for this principle.

The 3rd ‘S’ : Seiso (Shine/Clean/Cleaning) focuses on keeping things in usable condition always. Experts today are suggesting, to keep places clean and sanitized. Maintaining personal hygiene, washing hands frequently, disinfecting public places regularly are examples of the said principle of Seiso.

The 4th ‘S’ : Seiketsu (Standardize) is standardizing actions taken in 1S,2S,3S. Many standards/norms and guidelines which are being released by WHO, Central and State Governments, are practical examples of the 4th Principle. This is of utmost importance. Each one of us should follow norms and take actions in a standardized manner so that no loopholes remain.

The 5th ‘S’ : Shitsuke (Sustain) talks about Self-Discipline. Following social distancing rules, wearing masks, following safety norms, and being a role model and advocating till it becomes a habit.

Nothing can be forced, people must voluntarily adapt to the new normal. The last principle takes time, hard work and patience if one needs to bring in a cultural change.

Be a 5S evangelist, inculcate the new learning and safeguard your workplace/homes and defeat COVID by simple 5S techniques.

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