Workplace improvement through “Shitsuke”


The “Kanji� for “Shitsuke� is not one of the so-called “daily use� “Kanji�. In the Japanese dictionary it is written in two different ways.

Both writings have the same meaning, but the less common one gives a stronger impression of the concept of attitudes and of dressing neatly.

One “Kanji� for “Shitsuke� has other meanings, such as planting rice seedlings in correct vertical and horizontal lines, it also means stitching together a new kimono.

“Shitsuke-ito� is the fine, weak thread used for this stitching.

No matter, which “Kanji� is used, and no matter whether their surface meanings are different, the base of both means “to be neat and correct�.

The meaning of “Shitsuke� used in the workplace:

The “Shitsuke� we use in the workplace as a part of the 5S is used to mean keeping oneself clean and neat, and to have the custom of always following rules in the proper systems or procedures.

Looking deeper into the meaning of this word as relates to the 5S, we see that in order that the work of the other 4 ‘S’ is maintained, the attitude of people must be firm. In this case, “Shitsuke� plays an indispensable role for the other 4 ‘S’s, and is an absolutely necessary condition. For example, “Shitsuke� appears in a concrete fashion when rules, such as wearing helmets and safety shoes, keeping hair short, wearing name plates, and not running down aisles, are complied with.

The meaning of “Shitsuke� in relation to TMP and the 5S

“Shitsuke� means keeping the rules of the workplace. Becoming even slightly lax can mean a major accident. A feeling of tension is always necessary. Accordingly, it is vital to strictly control time and absence in order to maintain a proper working attitude.

Work clothes, aprons, gloves, work hats, etc. should always be neat. Safety shoes, safety hats, safety glasses, and other safety equipments should always be worn as accident prevention. Greetings should be made at the beginning and end of the workday, operational reports and notifications should be made accurately and at the proper times, the storage places for all items should be labeled as to item and quantities, all things should be returned to their designated places after they are used, and no extra items should be stored. Anything that appears strange should be improved or revised immediately. It is especially important to maintain vertical and horizontal communication, and to be able to give each other warnings as well as encouragement, and to share the results.

More efficient daily operations and work based on the enactment of the 5S are vital to the making of the 4 ‘S’s and “Shituke� an integrated part. In order to do this, an ideal structure for motivating workers should be constructed. This structure might include places where there are disorders that are labeled with red tags, and labeled with an improvement tag after improvements. Certificates given for completed improvements should be proposed as ways to motivate each worker.

The rules are instituted through the above principle so that production operations can be as efficient as possible and generate the minimum amount of loss. By doing this, trouble, disorders, and minor defects that appear at each stage can be pulled out by their roots so that recurrence can be prevented. This kind of action will become natural to all workers, a sort of attitudinal binding thread.

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