I have seen tremendous efforts on 6S in our operations since we began to implement “lean” techniques. The 6S’s are:
Initially, it takes an effort to get it right. It takes awhile to get the methods documented and the habits formed to maintain it.
There are several benefits. The first is the satisfaction the team gets from getting it done. Another is that it builds confidence and increases the ambition to take on larger lean efforts. A third is that it streamlines efficiency in operations and makes the work environment safer.
Another big one is that it raises the regard for the work that is being done and respect for the work place. People can’t explain it. They just know it is so.
Here’s why it works. It’s called the “broken windows theory.”
Many years ago Rudy Giuliani was the new mayor of New York City. The city was in crisis because the crime rate was very high. People were scared to come to New York.
Two sociologists, James Wilson and George Kelling, had conducted an experiment. It said that people fed off the physical environment. If the place was a mess, folks would respond with less regard for laws and rules. Thus, more crime.
They recommended to Giuliani that if more time was spent on fixing broken windows and painting over graffiti-filled walls, the frequency of crime would go down.
Giuliani bought in. Windows in high-crime areas were fixed and maintained. Graffiti painted over.
And, crime went down. The effort indicated that someone cared about those areas. The result was that those who committed crimes became fewer.
Taking care of our facilities is becoming an increased priority. 6S is a tool for us to get there.