I had pondered the meaning of the wearing of white gloves and wondered if it was related to 5S thinking? Well, I did my investigation work and asked our founder and Chairman, Masaaki Imai about the wearing of the white gloves in Japan.
Please read Mr Imai’s explanation…quite fascinating!
The white gloves are regarded in Japan as a symbol of engaging in a clean work. For instance, during the election campaign, the candidates often wear while gloves and wave their hands to the audience, as a symbol of engaging in a clean job, without any behind the scene money transactions, although not everybody believes in what they have to say.
On the shop floor, workers often wear white gloves in handling work pieces not to soil them. It is also said that wearing cotton gloves helps to find any dents on the surface of a metal than touching by one’s own hands.
On many gemba floors we see the examples of gloves, displayed, from pure white to half soiled and entirely blackened and oiled gloves. This is because they want to use the same gloves under different conditions to make maximum use of the resources.