Whilst the obvious impact of scrub is to get the area clean, there are a range of added benefits that greatly enhance process improvement. Rather than becoming a laborious chore, cleaning becomes a checking process that leads to continuous improvement.
Making cleaning processes a routine part of the process highlights abnormalities. These abnormalities become items to be fixed, and fixing them requires us to learn about the process and solve problems. The habit of solving problems is continuous improvement, and working in a continually improving work place encourages employees to make a positive contribution. Since each employee can see how their own efforts are expressed in the process, they are more likely to feel some ownership of the process and take pride in their work place.
Making cleaning a habit doesn’t happen by accident, it requires a strategy involving leadership will to stop the process for cleaning, and plans to ensure cleaning becomes standard work. Cleaning plans should follow the 5W1H model;
The aim of cleaning plans is to clean little and often, with everyone having the responsibility to clean as they go. Eliminating root causes prevents dirt and debris building up and reduces the time spent cleaning. When combined with visual sweeping, this technique becomes a powerful source of improvement. Visual sweeping involves looking at all work surfaces, floors, aisles, storage areas/containers and equipment and really seeing the condition of each area. You are looking for dirt and debris, equipment that is ready to use, missing or damaged parts or fixings, excess materials, damage, storage, or any other defect relevant to the work done in that area.
As with 1S and 2S this exercise should be repeated every 3 to 6 months to adjust for changes in working practices and area usage.