Clean up nicely and you’ll clean up nicely—the way you might clean up at a poker table.
Yes, organizational housekeeping isn’t just good for your people. It isn’t just good for the soul. It’s good for your bottom line.
Effective workplace cleaning efforts are typically structured under the 5S System:
- Set in Order
In a previous installment in this series, we uncovered a 6th “S”: Safety. But there may in fact be a 7th S, or more accurately an S-like symbol: $, the dollar sign.
How does housekeeping mean money? Let u$ count the way$:
1. Increased Revenue, Decreased Costs
Housekeeping reduces waste and helps processes run more smoothly. Organizations that employ it are able to sell, manufacture, and deliver more products and services of a higher quality quicker, while using fewer resources. Cleanliness equals efficiency. Clutter and disorganization consume time and company resources without adding any value.
2. Increased Customer Satisfaction
A customer who receives a better product or service, faster, will probably become a repeat customer. And they’ll likely become a brand advocate as well, telling others about their experience. Organizations that take housekeeping seriously drive customer satisfaction improves from moment one. Remember that cleanliness creates a positive first impression—it sets the foundation for a good customer experience.
3. Employee Retention
A clean and user-friendly work environment also means happier employees. As we mentioned earlier in this series, an employee who’s responsible for their work area tends to take pride in it. Not only are happier employees better employees, but they’re more likely to stay at your company. This reduces your need to spend time and money looking for new employees, hiring, onboarding, training, and so on.
4. Reduced Cost of Equipment Repair
When equipment goes unchecked and unmaintained, it gets worn out faster. By cleaning your machines and tools, you’re staying ahead of potential issues, keeping minor wear and tear from developing into major problems, and ultimately extending the working life of your equipment. That means fewer repairs and, moreover, fewer replacements.
5. Reduced Unnecessary Spending
A 5S (or is that 6S? 7$?) program can help you better identify the resources you have available. You don’t have to dig through piles of clutter to find the tools and materials you need. You don’t run the risk of losing something valuable in the mess—so you don’t have to buy something you already have on hand.
6. Prevention of Costly Injuries
An untidy workplace is a hazardous environment. Keep things clean and you’ll not only avoid injuries and illnesses, as well as the ensuing legal expenses, workers’ compensation costs, absenteeism, and low morale.
7. Reduced Fines
Did I mention the regulatory penalties? Occupational Safety and Health Administration fines are more than $13,000 per violation, and 10 times as much for a repeated and willful violation. Considering the fact that many injuries and OSHA violations are related to poor housekeeping, this is one cost no employer can afford to ignore.
At a Glance: General Rules for Good Housekeeping
If you’ve read through our entire “spring cleaning” series so far, you’ve undergone an intensive course in organizational housekeeping. You’ve learned why cleaning matters, how the 5S System works, ways to motivate people to clean up, and the link between housekeeping and safety.
At this point, you know what a difference a comprehensive approach to cleaning can make. But let’s say you don’t have the time or resources to implement it at your company at a high level. Perhaps you run a small business and lack the capacity for a full 5S approach.
You can still save your company money, reduce injuries, and create a better environment overall for yourself and your employees by starting with a few simple steps:
1. Clean up after yourself. Make housekeeping a priority. Positively recognize the employees that keep their work areas clean and encourage those that don’t.
2. Institute a routine clean schedule. Just like at your home or anywhere else, cleaning is an ongoing job. You need to create a schedule to make sure housekeeping becomes a routine. You may want to include safety equipment inspections in that schedule—have someone check your fire extinguishers, eyewash stations, tanks, and so forth.
3. Store flammables, sharps, and other hazards properly. Anything that can cause illness or injury needs to be organized and put away first. If nothing else, clean up your hazards.
4. Keep tools and materials organized. Find a place for everything. Many organizations use tape on the floor to designate where things go. This makes it easier for a worker to find what they may be looking for and keep areas clear.
Ready to get started on your cleaning program and make some extra $? Need help taking care of the mess?
KPA can help. Combining on-site auditing and consulting with innovative software and award-winning training, our solution empowers organizations to minimize losses, ensure compliance, and boost the bottom line. See what we can do for you—contact us for a demo.