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I was mad!
My kids have been told many times not to put their bikes in the doorway of the garage because I can’t get by.
I have 4 kids and they have 6 bikes. As you can imagine it gets messy and you can’t even get in the garage sometimes.
I thought to myself: “I teach $30 million companies how to apply 5S for increased productivity and reduced expenses, so why can’t I use the same systems at home?”
You don’t know 5S?
It is coming from the Japanese industry and is the basic of Lean Manufacturing, therefore the basis of Lean Methodology in general.
We use 5S at my clients in order to improve the house keeping standards and keep everything nice, tidy and efficiently organized. This to avoid the “subjectivity” factor about the quality of the house keeping.
So I applied the 5 steps (all starts with the letter “S” that is why the name) at home at the garage doorway.
First of all, I throw away some garbage, broken toys, bike part that I really could not use anymore. So what are left were the kids’ bikes. Nothing more to store there if I want a chance to keep it tidy.
Based on the most frequently used bikes, we agreed in which bikes should be more at hand. Others – like mountain bikes used in weekends only – were hung up to save space.
Here there was one important issue that made all the difference:
I told my kids how to put their bikes: the back wheel should not cross a line of the pavement otherwise we will have again problem with passing by to the garage door.
That was very easy to see and to remember (Visual Management)
We cleaned up the space where the bikes are stored. It looks much better now and it also emphasis the importance of not just “drop” the bikes.
As all my 4 kids were there together, we agreed that putting the bikes before the line and not in any other way, is not only a temporary “rule” but it should be kept at all times.
This 4th S makes the big difference between 5 S and the ordinary tiding up the place. The later one you do occasionally – especially when you get a visit from the CEO. While 5 S is maintained all the time. And that’s where you also need the next S.
Audit…in our case it is more like calling one of my kids to put the bike on its place when he/she forgot it in the hurry (because they always in the hurry…).
So in this way they can keep the space tidy, I can pass to the garage door and we don’t need to organize the space again and again.
Yes, the 5S system works at home too…what a relief…J
If you want to learn how to use 5 S and other Lean and Six Sigma improvement techniques in your job (or even at home … for the diehards among us), do not forget to sign up to the Green Belt training at
PS: I am still working on the online training and I will include some very practical templates and case studies so you can quickly “copy and paste” some of the project results into your situation.
If you want to discuss the training or the application of Lean Six Sigma in your own situation, you are welcome to have a 45 minutes FREE consultation with me. Application here: