April 2014



As chief elected officer of the Society, ASSE's president promotes the advancement of the Society and the safety profession, and represents ASSE before members, other relevant professional societies and various governmental agencies. Professional Safety shares his latest thoughts on the Society, the profession and its practice.

Read past messages in the President's Message Archive.

President's Message - February 2004

We continually work to keep members first; to keep an open mind; to put the profession and Society first; and to offer you the commitment of dedication to continued improvement.

2003-2004 ASSE President James "Skipper" Kendrick, CSP

5S for the Society

Over the past six months, ASSE has been busy applying a structured technique similar to one that many businesses use to achieve better organization, efficiency and standardization. While we're not using them quite by the book, the 5S techniques are proving to be very beneficial as the journey continues to improve the Society and its products and services.

5S originated in Japan and has been used for many years to bring order and predictability to processes. It takes its name from five Japanese words that begin with “s”:

  1. Seiri (“say-ree”) is translated as tidiness—to throw away all that is not needed, essential or related to the work.

  2. Seiton (“say-ton”) is orderliness. Aplace for everything and everything in its place—which means that what is needed is readily available.

  3. Seiso (“say-so”) is cleanliness. Not only are things in order, but they look good and are kept in excellent condition.

  4. Seiketsu (“say-ket-soo”) is standardization. There is conformity in the way things look and are set up.

  5. Shitsuke (“she-soo-kay”) is discipline. Make it a way of life and commit to keep it the same. As with most things, we have our own interpretation of this process. The following adaptation preserves the 5S acronym in the English language: Sort, Set (in place), Shine, Standardize and Sustain. Consider how we have been applying these concepts to the Society and its operation.

Sort. The Society Operations Guide is being reviewed to determine which elements are needed and which may not be. Steve Kane is chairing a group that is examining the Society's programs to identify those which produce value and benefit. Jack Luckhardt and the Bylaws Committee are seeking ways to eliminate nonessential elements in order to ensure efficient operation. We are conducting a member needs survey seeking your input on which services and products add the most value to your membership and investment.

Set. Gene Barfield and the Strategic Planning Committee are finishing their sort and are beginning to set our plan in order. They are also working to establish ownership and accountability for each goal and element within the plan. Dick Nugent and the Finance Committee have been working to bring the budget in line with the strategic plan, as well as to put ASSE's infrastructure needs in order. Don Jones and members of the 13 practice specialties have used a “back to basics” process to determine essentials and are now devising plans to move forward.

Shine. Jack Dobson and the regional vice presidents have been refining the council, region and chapter operating guidelines. Mike Messner and his committee delivered a superb Leadership Conference in 2003. Rixio Medina continued to extend ASSE's governmental affairs activities prior to his confirmation to the Chemical Safety Board. Warren Brown and the professional development groups continue to enhance the PDC, Seminarfest, and various symposia and seminars.

Standardize. This is perhaps the most difficult task, particularly with 30,000 members and their diverse individual needs. While difficult to satisfy all, we can work on standardizing areas such as being prompt in our replies, consistent in our actions, ethical in our decisions and placing the highest priority on member service.

Sustain. Ever mindful that when we do change we must be able to sustain the activity and service at the highest possible level, the Executive Committee, Board and staff are working to develop processes that will sustain the momentum being built and which will ensure that decisions are based on knowledge. We continually work on the concept of discipline—the discipline to keep members first; to keep an open mind; to put the profession and Society first; and to offer you the commitment of open communication, hard work and dedication to continued improvement.

Some day soon, with the work done, a different 5S acronym will apply when describing ASSE: Strategic, Service-oriented, Satisfier, Swift, Steadfast.

James "Skipper" Kendrick, CSP