Order is everything - this applies especially in the laboratory. If we want to organise work processes efficiently and make sure that work is done to a high standard, with accurate results, it is worth looking at Asia - and more specifically at the 5S principle. The concept is now extremely popular worldwide in many laboratories, production facilities, and offices. It is a workplace organisation method originating in Japan - or to be more precise, from the Japanese automotive manufacturer Toyota. Its purpose is to increase productivity, quality, and safety at work. The principle of it is a consistent and systematic enforcement of order and cleanliness at the workplace - down to the last detail. This creates a better overview in the workplace and should, for example, reduce wasted time spent looking for work materials. The 5S principle summarises the key aspects of workplace organisation in specific instructions:
Seiri: Sort - Identify and eliminate all unnecessary items.
Seiton: Set in order - Put down all necessary items in a defined place so they can be easily accessed for use, and mark them clearly.
Seiso: Shine - Clean your workplace thoroughly on a regular basis.
Seiketsu: Sanitize - Maintain a high standard of cleanliness at all times. Ensure everything is in its right place and that your workplace is not cluttered with items that should not be there, and prevent new unnecessary items being left at the work station.
Shitsuke: Self-discipline helps to maintain order and cleanliness. All items must always be put back where they belong; clear labelling helps.