Reducing Waste with LEAN Cleaning

Reducing Waste with LEAN Cleaning

Veritiv Facility Solutions | June 24, 2020

More than ever before, employee health and safety are of the utmost importance. However, providing a safe and healthy workplace has also never been more complicated. What are the best ways to protect your people and stop the spread of illness, while maintaining productivity and a healthy bottom line? LEAN cleaning helps you strike the balance.

LEAN cleaning takes principles that have minimized waste in nearly all industries for decades and applies them to cleaning. Some companies have used LEAN cleaning to cut their overall costs by up to 40% and increase productivity by over 52%! On top of these improvements, study after study shows a clean facility makes a good first impression with customers and shows employees they’re cared for, which supports recruiting, morale and retention

“According to a study by HLW International LLP, of 400 managers and employees, clean offices yielded a 5% productivity increase that translated into an additional $125,000 a year in revenue.”

3 Types of Waste to Minimize Without Sacrificing Safety

In today’s environment, providing personal protective equipment (PPE), effective cleaning products and sanitizing solutions are the first steps. Any company looking to increase performance and decrease waste should take a deeper dive using LEAN cleaning principles.

There are ten common types of waste to watch out for:

  1. Space
  2. Transportation
  3. Product
  4. Complexity
  5. Time
  6. Defects
  7. Labor
  8. Energy
  9. Safety
  10. Production hours

The three types that are easiest to address without sacrificing safety are space waste, transportation waste and product waste.

The LEAN 5S methodology can be applied to specific areas of your facility to minimize these forms of waste:

  • SORT – get rid of the junk
  • SET IN ORDER – make products and equipment easy to find, get and return
  • SHINE – keep up the cleanliness to show your employees and customers you care
  • STANDARDIZE – eliminate the guesswork around how to clean
  • SUSTAIN – keep your eyes open and act when things slide backwards

Here are some examples of how to apply the 5S methodology to minimize waste while maximizing safety.

Space Waste

Space waste occurs where people don’t have enough space to fully operate or when space isn’t maximized for efficiency. To safely reduce space waste:

  • Sort and set cleaning supplies in order. Ensure cleaning staff can quickly locate, retrieve and return cleaning products and equipment by cleaning out and organizing storage closets. Use simple tools like labels, marking tape and color coding for visual cues.
  • Standardize where to work with marking tape and partitions. Social distancing without wasting more space can be tricky. Many LEAN organizations use tape to mark where employees should work. This eliminates the time and mental load needed to figure out where to stand or go so workers can focus on the job at hand while keeping their distance. Additionally, simple partitions like these are a great way to divide shared workspaces so employees can work closely, yet safely.

Product Waste

Product waste occurs when products are proliferated, overused or misused. To safely address this type of waste:

  • Sustain past organization and waste minimization efforts by only buying what you need. With a renewed focus on sanitizing and disinfecting, many companies are buying new cleaning products. Work with an expert to select the right products and design a program for your facility's unique needs.
  • Sort all new supplies, and look for multi-purpose products. Ensure each new product matches the job you need done, then eliminate duplicates or other products you’re not going to use anymore. Also consider multi-use solutions (such as 2-in-1 or 3-in-one cleaners) to minimize the number of products required.

Transportation Waste

Transportation waste occurs when employees retrace the same steps numerous times throughout the day. To safely address this type of waste:

  • Set sanitizing stations in order near high-traffic areas. Your facility may be adding sanitation stations to encourage hand hygiene. Place these stations in high-traffic areas, such as near entrances, desks, restrooms, break rooms and other common areas, so employees don’t need to waste time or steps finding them.
  • Sort the locations of supply closets to minimize backtracking. How many times does your cleaning staff have to make multiple trips to do their job? The more time they spend traveling from place to place, the less time they spend cleaning. To reduce transportation waste in this scenario, place supplies and tools close to where work is done, utilize cleaning carts and look for opportunities to automate cleaning processes.
  • Sort and standardize new traffic flows. Changing workflows, such as designating certain doorways as entry only or exit only, minimizes contact and germ spreading, but it also creates more transportation waste. Be thoughtful about changes like these, and provide clear instructions with signage, marking tape and other inexpensive tools to take the guesswork and time out of navigating new traffic patterns.

Expert LEAN Cleaning Advice for Exceptional Impact

In this new world of work where cleanliness requirements are heightened, some types of waste are unavoidable. But by using LEAN cleaning techniques and the right products, at the right time, in the right way, you can minimize the spread of illness and unnecessary waste.

The suggestions shared here are simple starting points. There are even more LEAN cleaning opportunities to explore! Download our Cleanliness at Work guide, visit this page for details, or contact us to speak with one of Veritiv’s Certified LEAN Advisors.