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5S and Car Keys

April 23, 2010


I’ll ask during a 5S session what people do with their car keys when they get home. Of course they will look at me funny at first and then somebody will speak up and say something like “I leave my in the basket by the door” or “I keep them in my purse”. More people will jump in and say things like “I have a key holder by my back door” or “I keep them on my dresser.” The point here is not where they actually keep them; the point is that they always put them in the same spot.

O.k., well, maybe not always because they will tell you that if they forget to put them there then they have a hard time finding them when they need them. The key (no pun intended) here is that we put them in the same place because it is habit. Why is it a habit? Because this simplifies our lives. Once we put our keys in the normal spot we can forget about them until we need them. We don’t have to use our brain to remember where the keys are at every moment. This also reduces our stress and search time when we want to retrieve our keys.

I realized that I have been putting my keys on the key holder I made all the way back in high school wood shop class for decades. Now that’s an ingrained habit!

This of course, doesn’t work if you have teenagers that drive, the keys could end up anywhere.

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2 Responses to “5S and Car Keys”

  1. Rob Maystead Says:

    Tony, here is an extension to the key situation and how 5S thinking can make the process much more efficient.
    I travel between two locations in my role as Business Improvement Manager. I office in the ‘away’ location is shared with another individual. We were walking in together and I started reaching for my keys. The other guy says, ‘I have it.’ I told him that I had a trick to find the proper key because the one needed was the shiniest (visual).
    But he still found his key faster!
    His system is that he knows WHERE on his keychain each key is located! Awesome. ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’.
    Predictable outcome.


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