domingo, 1 de abril de 2018

Lean Supermarket?

I enjoy going to the Supermarket for our weekly supplies. I find it relaxing and I see it as a time where I can reflect and hear some podcasts that interest me. The Supermarket where I usually go is near where I live and I go there because is convenient and to avoid traveling long distances. I guess I try to diminish the waste of transportation. However, there are times where I drive to the nearest Wallmart because it has a wider variety of supplies and because of cashiers seem to be faster than other Supermarkets near my neighborhood.

5S Visual Aid at the cashier.
Today I decided to go to the one near home and followed my routine. To my surprise at the moment where I was paying for my groceries, I noticed a small Visual aid that contained the 5S. 

In the sheet, there were described the 5S, within a diagram and each of the 5, briefly explained. What caught my attention was the last one, Sustain. It read: Follow up to the 5S program as part of the work culture of Soriana. Which is the name of the Supermarket I went today. 
Looks like they are trying to practice 5S and change the culture, shape it to be better.

I really hope they have success practicing Lean and I hope this is not just another program or more work to do for employees. Soriana is a Mexican Supermarket and probably, one of the very few Mexican companies practicing Lean or at least some of the tools or CI initiative.

While paying I noticed some small labels that indicated a few of the items that needed to be arranged. There were small labels signaling a few items, such as the Printer, monitor, a drawer, and space where customers could sign the receipt.

All this made me reflect that even though they have just started their Lean Journey, and still fot plenty to improve, there are a few things that stand out to me right away. For example; Why do they have to label the printer? Are there any employees that do not know how a printer looks like? How about the monitor? Why do they have to label the monitor? I don´t think the monitor moves away from the position where it was. So,  in this regard, 5S is not just clean and label everything in a workplace. 5S got to make sense, in order to improve efficiency, productivity of employees by placing tools closer or better for employees so he/she can do the work easier, safer, faster & better.
5S can also help to prevent or improve ergonomic issues that might be present on workstations when tools or machines are placed in awkward positions. Otherwise, if this 5S program is only focused on cleaning, labeling all tools and stuff for no reason, 2 things could happen:

1. Employees won´t see the point or real value of labeling stuff in the name of 5S.

2. Employees might believe that 5S is just more work to do for the same wage.

In either case, the result could be the same: Employees losing interest in the 5S program, making it hard for management to engage in any other continuous improvement program. I would caution Soriana to watch very carefully how 5S is viewed, introduced to employees and ultimately practiced. Mark Graban created a Lean video that explains far better my point. Clic here to watch the video.

Equipment labeled in 5S style.
I´m intrigued to know if cashiers are faster now that have started practicing 5S at their workplaces, compared to the time where weren´t practicing 5S. What do employees think about the 5S program? Does management supports and discusses issues and roadblocks with employees? What other practices are they adopting to improve store´s operations?

Will keep an eye to see how this company evolves in their Lean Journey. 

Are there any other companies or Supermarkets practicing Lean that you know? Others than Wallmart?

I would love to read your thoughts and your point of view regarding 5S. Please share!

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