Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The 5S's + 1

Here's more about the CPD Lean rapid improvement event discussed below. It is in the form of report to the entire OR community from the director of that area, Elena Canacari:

Last week we completed a 5S Rapid Improvement Event in the West CPD decontamination room and in the OR core tech room. We spent much of our time on sorting out unneeded items (S1) and continued through each of the other 5 “S’s.” We even decided to add a sixth “S” for SAFETY because our team identified many opportunities to improve the safety of the staff who do the work. We accomplished a lot this week, and this improvement process will continue.

Let’s take a closer look at the 6 S’s:

1. Red tags and "sorting things out"

Clutter clogs up physical and mental flow of material and information. We went around the CPD and OR areas and looked for things that were broken, dirty, homeless, over stocked or no longer needed. We used 5S red tags to identify all of these items and we placed them in a “red tag holding area” so we could decide what was really needed and what was not. Once this was done, we realized how much space all of the unused items were taking up and how much space we could now use for the items we actually need!

2. Why is it necessary to set locations?

Set locations is another name for smart placement. Organization is the first step in rearranging work flow and we want to avoid reaching, bending and searching to use the items we need. Like items are now co-located and commonly used items are at eye-level, so no one needs to bend over or use a stool to reach items. In addition, there is no need to search for items now that we gave them all clearly defined homes as well. We want to create good flow with no barriers.

3. S3 is scrub, shine, and sweep

Before we could move ahead with our improvements, we cleaned the workplace to prepare it for new organization. This included mopping the floors, scraping off old labels, washing the walls, and shining counters and shelves. A clean workplace is a happy workplace!

4. Create standards

When you walk past CPD or go through the OR core tech room, you will notice parking places for trash and linen bins, color-coded signs to direct flow of instruments and kits, and taped areas to separate dirty areas from clean ones. Different colored shelves now help to set different levels of priority for turnover of dirty instrument trays and time tickets will be used as a new technique for visual communication. These are all methods for creating standards so that anyone who is involved in the process can have the right materials, in the right place, and at the right time.

5. We need to sustain the gains!

Everyone is an owner of the process and we should all be proud of our work. Building relationships between departments was an important part of the Lean journey, and in addition to teamwork between CPD and the OR, we now have friends in facilities, environmental services, housekeeping, and infection control. Practice makes permanence, and it is all of our jobs to communicate with other staff to share knowledge, highlight successes, and catch people doing the right thing.

6. Improving Safety in the Workplace

During our “waste walk” through both areas, many of the team members identified wastes that could impact the safety of the people doing the work. In keeping with the Lean principle of respecting people, the team decided that it was important to address safety issues. Some safety issues that the team addressed were marking off space in front of the fire extinguisher and hose, removing fabric materials from the decontamination rooms, marking off space in front of clean sinks, adding hand sanitizer and germicidal wipes, among many others. As important as it is to make process improvements, it is as important to ensure the safety of the process and the safety of those involved.

Feel free to stop by and provide feedback. Remember, this is a work in process. We are not waiting for perfection, but are going to make small incremental improvements that lead to big gains.

Should you have any questions, feel free to ask anyone on the event team, or speak to the management team. Thanks to the entire 5S event team: Ray Clarke, Heideman Zayas, Anderson Gray, Deborah Kravitz, Cheryl Wiggins, Kelly Cormier, Marti Cunningham, Jack Field, John Dzialo, and to the Lean team: Alice Lee, Bonnie Baker, Jenine Davignon, Kim Eng, Brandan Holbrook, and Samantha Ruokis.

Thank you to the Lean 5S Event Team. We look forward to your input and involvement. Elena


RalfLippold said...


I love the transparency you and your team at BICMC is showing to the public.

It would be great if that would be an example for other companies to change their habits of holding information inside.

Best regards


PS.: I have posted it on https://www.xing.com/app/forum?op=showforum;id=97902;articleid=16213171#16213171 so others learn about what is being done in other parts of the world and other branches.

Janet Karasz said...

Oh, you are applying the principles of Kaizen! My ambitions are to apply those same principles in my (less critical) operations, managing a busy file room.

Your comments are always a boost. I'm glad I found your blog.

Anonymous said...


Your blog posts just keep getting better and better every day, every week--great content!

Keep up the great work!