An educational teledrama on the importance of implementing the famous Japanese 5S methodology of organisation in schools, homes as well as private and public corporations, written and directed by founder Chairman of Teleview Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. Sunil Ratnayake will be launched next week.
The documentary is part of the efficiency-improvement programme carried out by the Japan Sri Lanka Technical and Cultural Association (JASTECA) of which Ratnayake is the School 5S Implementation Committee Chairman, features some well known faces in the country’s television industry.
Based on an initiative by JASTECA President Mahinda Swarnapala and past President Premalal Fernando, the programme is presented in the form of a situational drama, with scenes showcasing how adopting the 5S system helps improve productivity and discipline in any sphere of human society. The programme will air on local TV channels from the day of release. A DVD version will be available at the JASTECA Secretariat.
According to Ratnayake, who, together with JASTECA, has been actively involved in promoting the 5S system in Sri Lanka, 5S is a concept that has changed the way individuals, schools, companies and corporations look at efficiency and productivity-management, from the grassroots level up.
Swarnapala and Fernando, who are 5S specialists, have assisted him in the production of the documentary.
5S is defined as a workplace organisation methodology named after its five constituent Japanese words Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke that, roughly translated, mean sorting, straightening, sweeping, standardising and sustaining, respectively. Transliterated or translated into English, they all start with the letter ‘S’; hence the name 5S.
The list essentially describes how items are stored and how the new order is maintained. While this might sound ridiculously superficial to some, says Ratnayake, several top level corporate giants based in Sri Lanka, who have successfully implemented the method in their businesses and reaped its benefits, will testify otherwise.
The methodology, he says, was formally introduced to Sri Lanka by Dr. Taiki Akimoto following an invitation by JASTECA in 1994 with the aim of providing a means for Sri Lankan institutes to increase productivity and efficiency.
After his demise in 1996, JASTECA applied the 5S methodology for the benefit and development of industry and institutions in general, eventually giving rise to the ‘Taiki Akimoto 5S Awards Competition’. The awards have been held continuously since 1996 and are now an eagerly-awaited event in Sri Lanka’s national awards calendar.
“Everyone’s heard about it; everyone has a vague idea what it deals with and how it works; but not many seem to be too interested in implementing it in the real world – at least in this country – mostly due to the irrational misconception that it’s a waste of time and resources. This is rather unfortunate, considering the 5S methodology is anything but a waste of time and resources; it is, in fact, the complete opposite of that,” he says.
Explaining the implementation of the system, Ratnayake says that the decision-making process with regard to 5s usually stems from a dialogue about standardisation between employer and employee which builds a clear understanding of how work should be done, and in what order. It also instils a sense of ownership of the process in each employee, he says.
“In other words, it makes employees feel like they’re part of the company, and that their input adds real value to the company and its interests,” he adds.
JASTECA, having successfully introduced 5S to the business sector, is now on a mission to implement it at the school-level, aimed at increasing efficiency and productivity at government and privately owned schools all over the country. This, says Ratnayake, will be done through the participation of the Education Ministry under the guidance of Minister Bandula Gunawardena.
The next logical step, of course, will be to introduce it to homes all over Sri Lanka, and JASTECA is hoping that school children and employees alike will help take the message of 5S to their friends and families, he says.