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5S Principles explained


5S5S is a Lean / Continuous Improvement practice that originated in Japan and is currently used around the world to organise your workplace. 5S principles are considered a very good place to start a Continuous Improvement program as it has an immediate impact on your workplace. Because 5S is highly visible and has immediate benefits, it gets everyone involved and creates a lot of buy-in. This makes the implementation of subsequent Lean tools much easier. 5S principles are about instilling discipline and creating an organised mindset.

The name of each stage begins with the letter S:

  1. Sort (Seiri): Requires you to only keep those items that you currently use and remove everything that you don’t need, but only clutters your workplace.
  2. Set (Seiton): Everything in its a place and a place for everything.
  3. Shine (Seiso): Use this opportunity to give everything a good clean. Any defects are more obvious when items are clean.
  4. Standardise (Seiketsu): Set a standard by taking pictures of the current situation to show what your workplace should look like.
  5. Sustain (Shitsuke): Have a system in place to ensure that everything is returned to the standard. You can do this by verifying (by team or leader) that the workplace adheres to the standard.

By following these 5 Steps, you will produce and maintain your workplace in a great shape to be highly productive. The first three; Sort, Set and Shine are really about establishing a clean, tidy, and organised workplace. The last two ‘S’ are the hardest to do, they are about maintaining this organised situation. With ‘Standardise’ we agree what the workplace should be kept like and what everyone’s role is in keeping it that way. The final ‘S’ Sustain is about putting checks and audits in place to confirm the standard is being kept.

The benefits of implementing 5S workplace management are:

  • Safer workplace: Trip hazards are removed, and dangerous tools are not left around.
  • More productive workplace: Less time is spend looking for tools and materials.
  • Better staff morale: People enjoy working in a clean and organised environment
  • Reduced costs: In addition to less time spend looking for materials, less money is spent on re-ordering materials and tools that cannot be located.
  • Better quality: By having the right tools that are in good working order, people can focus on creating quality products.

Contact us for more information  or Watch Nick Brownsword explain 5S

5S Japan