Friday, 19 November 2010

Sarawak Regional 5S Convention

Last Monday, 15 November 2010, I was in Kuching to deliver a paper at the Sarawak Regional 5S Convention (Konvensyen 5S Wilayah Sarawak). It was an eye-opener for me because even though we’ve had 5S in Singapore since 1986, we never organised a 5S convention. The biggest 5S event in Singapore as far as I can remember was the award-presentation ceremony for the Inter-company 5S Competition in 1989.

Organised by the Malaysia Productivity Corporation (Sarawak Office), this Regional 5S Convention drew a huge crowd of more than 250 participants. I should congratulation the MPC for having done such a great job in promoting 5S in Sarawak. The highlights of this convention were:

1) 5S Song by Sedidik Sdn Bhd (a Childcare Centre)
2) Performance by Sekolah Seni Kuching
3) Presentation of 5S Certificates to ‘5S-certified’ companies
4) My paper on “Issues of Sustaining 5S practices”
5) Presentation by Hospital Tenom, Sabah – “Enhancing excellenct service delivery through 5S practices”
6) Presentation by Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara – “Developing, sustaining and impact of Quality Environment Practices”
7) Presentation by Sarawak Land and Survey – “Organisational transformation through 5S practices”

5S Song by SeDidik Sdn Bhd

5S Dance by Sekolah Seni Kuching

Besides presentations by the four speakers, there was an exhibition by a number of 5S-certified organisations including an interesting one by Sedidik Sdn Bhd (a Childcare Centre). Personally I am very impressed by the work that MPC has done to promote 5S and the commitment shown by the award-winning organizations. Seeing the efforts and results of these companies, I think the MPC consultants have done a great job is teaching and guiding them in the implementation of 5S

They have correctly identified sustenance as a key challenge and I hope my paper has contributed a little to this very difficult topic. The key thrust of my speech was that 5S is above all a management issue and not a worker programme as many organizations mistakenly thought. As such the focus should always be on how to manage the programme in a structured ongoing manner, and I recommended that they adopt the PDCA methodology. Through a yearly repetition of the PDCA cycle, an organisation can assess its current situation, set appropriate goals, develop a good plan which is then implemented thoroughly and then the situation systematically monitored, reviewed and corrected if necessary. And such a PDCA cycle should be carried out at different levels of the organisation in an integrated manner - just like the way TQM companies implement Policy Deployment or Hoshin Kanri.
I also cautioned them that the one area that they must pay close attention to is the middle management. On there shoulders lie the heavy burden of leading the 5S movement at the operational level. They are also the ones most pressured for time. In many organisations, this turn out to be the weakest link.

As a result of seeing the huge efforts put in by the participating companies, I am alerted to one other danger. Fatigue or overload can cause the leaders at the front line to grow weary or even apprehensive of 5S activities. I have seen this happen in many organisations here in Singapore with respect to the Quality Circle movement. Still, with the PDCA approach, the management can look out for and manage this problem. As the 5S movement matures, emphasis should shift from ‘song-and-dance’ type promotion to incorporating 5S into the daily operational processes; in other words, Standardization.

Below are photos of some of the exhiibits