Security Business

JUN 2019

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58 Security Business / / June 2019 Insider Intelligence BY RIC MCCULLOUGH 5S in the Digital Era They may be almost a century old, but the concepts can still be used today to help you stay relevant and organized Here’s a new twist on an old theme: Can you use an old, analog productivity tool, 5S, to organize your digital workspace? Virtually everyone in 21st century business has heard of the mid-20th century methodology called lean manufacturing. While an oversimplified definition, lean manufacturing – adapted from the Toyota Production System – is the continuous improvement process of eliminating waste and inefficiency from the manufacturing shop floor. I was first introduced to lean manufacturing concepts in the early 2000s when the company I worked at was purchased by a large Fortune 500 firm. Lean was so transformative to me that I vowed to change careers from manufacturing to sales management that year, and I have never looked back! One of the many frameworks that sprung out of lean is called 5S. What exactly is 5S and how can that possibly apply to us today? 5S refers to five Japanese words that translate as: • Sort – Remove items not used in your work area • Straighten or Set in order – Identify and assign a place for everything you do need • Shine – Keep your work area clean and free of dirt and clutter • Standardize – Keep each area consistent and standardize on best practices • Sustain – Maintain the standards you have implemented every day – all the time In short, using 5S helps us to straighten out, clean up and organize a sustainable workplace to gain efficiency, while at the same time eliminating wasted time and space. I recently employed this method, and now when I walk into my office, there is no clutter of work papers and periodicals strewn across my desk. The tools I use are all within arm’s reach. I now have only two pieces of paper that are visible – one, right next to the phone, a list of every employee and their phone extension; and two, a copy of our company’s Mission and Vision Statement right next to the computer monitor. This just keeps me grounded on what’s important in my work life. The rest of my desk and work surface is clear, organized and available to use for work. If you introduced this concept at your place of work, can you visualize your new 5S work area? You can easily picture your clean, organized and highly efficient desk/cubicle/office/workspace once you start to use this process, right? Could we also apply this same 5S concept to organize our digital workspace – our computer desktop, hard drive, project documents, network folders, downloaded apps and files…you know, where we store all of our best work? First a question: Does your digital workspace currently look like a 5S site or is it more like a 5D? You know – a disorganized, disassociated, deteriorated and daunting, dumping ground? If so, do not despair, there is help. Better organization is but a few digital mouse-clicks away. Using 5S as the framework, start by: • Sorting or removing programs, applications and files from your desktop that are simply no longer used. Once you take inventory of everything you actually do need you will be surprised at what you can get rid of. • Set in order or assign a place for all those programs, applications and files that you do use on a daily basis. Organize your files in folders by subject, department, project or fiscal month and year. • Shine or keep your computer drive and desktop clean and tidy. Turn off all those notifications you get from Facebook, Twitter, news feeds, your personal inbox and so on. • Standardize by keeping your desktop drives and shared files consistently named and stored. • Above all, sustain and maintain these organizational and performance practices so you can continue to thrive and succeed for years to come. ■ » Ric McCullough is COO for PSA Security Network. To request more information about PSA, please visit Does your digital workspace currently look like a 5S site or is it more like a 5D? You know – a disorganized, disassociated, deteriorated and daunting, dumping ground? If so, do not despair, there is help."

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