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5S in the office - systematics in documentation and visual management

Systematics in documentation. Find out how to use the racking system to improve the 5S system in your office.

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Systematics in documentation is a topic often raised during 5S audits in administrative environments. There is a reason why this issue is brought to the attention of those responsible for implementing and improving the 5S system in an organization. A well-organized office affects the quality of work.

Employees who work with paper records on a daily basis usually don’t think about streamlining the process. They order binders, then usually sign them by hand. It often happens that the designation on a binder is known only to the person who describes it. The area of document management in an organization has great potential for optimization. 5S experts have developed many good practices that improve the work of administrative employees.

Standardized binder label

One of the first elements of building a 5S system in an office is developing a standardized binder label. The word “standardized” means that we do not use labels other than the accepted templates that are easily accessible to employees in every office in the organization.

A typical label includes:

  • A logo and/or company name – in either graphic or text form, or a mixture.
  • Code marking or description of the location (e.g. plant) – to distinguish documents from different factories, plants of the same company (examples are corporations of corporate companies).
  • Code designation or department description – to associate a document with the department to which it belongs and which is responsible for it.
  • Content description – a brief description that identifies the contents of the binder. Avoid overly extensive descriptions (e.g. listing by name all documents contained in the binder) or overly laconic descriptions (e.g. “purchase documents”).
  • Numbering according to the adopted system – one of the solutions is the racking system, performed identically to the warehouse rack.

Cabinet or bookcase description

Each cabinet or rack should have its own standardized identification label with a description of the contents. The label should include information such as:

  • Company logo and/or name – in graphic or text form, or a mixture.
  • Code designation or department description – to link the contents of the cabinet or rack to the department to which it belongs and which is responsible for it.
  • A description of the contents of the cabinet or rack (e.g., shipping lists).

In a simple yet precise way, we ensure that every binder has its place and every cabinet and shelf in a cabinet has its own set of sequentially numbered binders. Now finding the document you need is relatively easy and fast.

Standardization of binder colors

Standardization of binder colors is intended to implement visual management preferably throughout the organization. This can be achieved by assigning a binder color to a department or group of departments with similar characteristics. It can then be visible to which department a particular binder belongs to. The organization can then boast of a visible standardization and systematization of documents. For example, the quality department will be assigned a yellow color, the purchasing department a green one, and the accounting department a red one.

Being systematic in your documentation reduces the waste associated with waiting and searching for a particular document. Often there are situations when we need something “right now” and just then we cannot find it. Using the discussed rules and their consistent observance allows to eliminate many problems.

In this article, we have presented examples of binder labeling options, absolutely not covering all possibilities. We encourage you to explore, optimize, and customize labeling for your specific organization on your own.

If you are interested in the topic of systematics in documentation, we invite you to watch the course The 5S Method!

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The 5S Method

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