I’m always on the lookout for lean thinking and tools being discussed in places you might not expect. To me it means that the roots of lean are spreading further and finding their way to new areas. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I flipped through a publication from an organization connected with my healthcare provider and found an article describing a local consultant (Lisa Van Remortel, owner of LeanKlean) who teaches the methods of 5S to families to help reduce stress in their lives through organization. The Affinity Health magazine tries to help enrich people’s lives with healthy recipes, lifestyle tips and inspiring stories, as well as communicate what activities and programs they offer or are initiating.
Two things stood out in this article that made me think that Affinity is not just talking the talk when it comes to lean. First, there is an element of teaching where they define what 5S stands for, at least from the home organization point of view.
The one item I think is missing is the “why” behind Shine, beyond simply having a nice clean house. Why is it important to deeply clean the area? So that problems become quickly obvious while they are small, and it is easy to spot the cause. I’ve always thought of gearboxes with a very clean floor below them, or a very clean surface, so you can see the exact location where a leak is occurring.
Second is how they are celebrating and sharing the 5S wins they have had within their healthcare organization. I really like the connection to the patient experience in bullets 2 and 3, “decreases patient anxiety” and “no longer have to wait as long”. It seems like they have focused their improvement activities on important areas for patient care.
The more crossovers I see between work and home for Lean thinking, the more hope I have that continuous improvement philosophy will someday be embedded in all that we do!