The File-By-Piling System of Clutter
The “file-by-piling system” found in many small businesses is a common method for keeping some semblance of order. Unfortunately, this is an unconscious way of putting things off.
Consequently, when a business has no system of cleanliness to ensure the daily return of ALL items to their designated locations, the PILING begins!
To be fair, the intention is to clean up the messes and file items when things slow-down. You tell yourself, “When time is available for trivial, non-essential, un-chargeable work, I’ll get around to it.”
The problem is, the piling of work-related items causes bottlenecks. Relocating lost items in stacks of clutter wastes time and money; slowing down service and production. Not to mention, the frustration it causes by constantly searching for things.
Examples of items found in a File by Piling System
- Bills and invoices stacked in the bookkeeper’s office.
- Job Tickets/Folders piling-up in the manager’s office.
- Tools and other workplace materials scattered all over production areas.
- Front office desks and shelves cluttered with papers, mail, books, etc.
- Delivery and service trucks strewn with trash, unfiled delivery receipts, tools, and other materials.
Many larger companies address this cluttering problem by implementing a system known as Lean Management. One aspect of “Lean” is a method for controlling clutter, known as 5S. This is a “system of cleanliness” that ensures the return of every item to its designated location at the end of the day or shift.
We are talking about, EVERY tool, unfiled bill, invoice, and job ticket, etc., returned to its designated location, daily, systematically, down to a paper clip!
We witnessed this 100% System of Cleanliness working for over fifteen years, in an industry known for not-so-clean and cluttered work environments. In fact, our Tour Of Lean demonstrates the result, after removing a file-by-piling system, and replacing it with a system of cleanliness.
The Cost of a File-by-Piling System
Think of how much time and money is lost by employees searching for items i.e., tools, work material or unfiled documents.
Now, think of the lost revenue when RE-ordering job materials due to the misplacement of past orders hidden among all the shop clutter.
Consider the money lost because of tools left behind on job-sites; and tools lost because of the clutter in production areas.
The good news for business owners everywhere is … poor housekeeping in production work areas and front offices is VERY fixable. We’ve proved it!
Did I mention, great systems work and save money!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.