Should the area you’re working in shine as bright as the Texas sun? Should the floor be clean enough to eat off of? Or is “pretty clean” or “cleaner than it was” acceptable?
Clean to Inspect
The answer to the questions above can be summed up with one word – possibly.
But, you see, the key to this third step of 5S is not how sparkling clean the area is.
No, the key to this third step is to clean until you know why the mess is there to begin with. In other words, the true purpose of this step is to clean to inspect.
Why are you sweeping?
Here’s a way to practice. The next time you see someone sweeping or cleaning the floor politely ask them why they’re doing what they’re doing (sweeping or cleaning).
They’ll likely look at you funny while responding, “Cuz it’s dirty bro. Open your eyes.”
This is then your cue to ask why several times until you identify the root cause of the dirt or grime (e.g. dirty filters, machine malfunctioning, etc.) enabling you and your friend to think about a countermeasure.
What do you think?
What do you think? Do you agree with me? If not, why? If so, do you have any stories to share where you’ve done just this… namely identified a root cause that when addressed eliminated the need to shine or sweep altogether?