5S - Introduction

5s is a method which aims to improve and preserve worplaces organisation. Each S represents a discipline. All these disciplines allow to preserve the workplace.

They are very important for continuous improvement, and for strategy production based on Lean Manufacturing concept (reduce wastes)

5s method reduces disorder and time required to find tools and materials

I found this proverb and I think it’s a good resume of  5s method :  « A place for everything and everything in his place. »

This method was proposed by Takashi ISADA in 1991, it enters in a kaizen process. 5s method represents 5 japanese words designed like principles :

SEIRI : Sort

SEITON : Set in Order

SEISO : Shine

SEIKETSU : Standardize

SHITSUKE : Sustain

 The idea is to give to each employee his work station through an optimal storage an a good maintenance. Indeed, before engaging a quality approach, it seems necessary to start implying every employee by leading him to clarify his workplace. According to OSADA, if 5S method is used, your company will be in good health , and if a business doesn’t works, it’s because this company doesn’t apply 5s. Imagine repercussions that can have accumulation of small disorders like dirtyness of production ; 5s can be applied both in an office and in a warehouse.


  • Remove unnecessary items and dispose of them properly.
  • Make work easier by eliminating obstacles.
  • Reduce chances of being disturbed with unnecessary items.
  • Prevent accumulation of unnecessary items.
  • Evaluate necessary items with regard to cost or other factors.
  • Remove all parts or tools that are not in use.
  • Separate unwanted material from the workplace.
  • Need skilled supervisor for checking on regular basis.
  • Don't put unnecessary items in the workplace & define a red zone to keep those unnecessary items.
  • Remove wastes


Set In Order

  • Arrange all necessary items so that they can be easily selected for use.
  • Prevent loss and waste of time by arranging work station in a way that all tools are close to each other.
  • Make it easy to find and pick up necessary items
  • Make workflows smooth and easy



  • Clean your workplace completely
  • Prevent equipment deterioration
  • Keep workplace safe and easy to work in
  • Keep workplace clean and pleasing to work in
  • When set up, anyone not familiar to the environment must be able to detect any problems quickly.



  • Standardize the best practices in the work area.
  • Maintain high standards in workplace organization everytime
  • Maintain order. Maintain everything in order and according to its standards.
  • Everything in its right place.
  • Every process has a standard.



  • Also translates as "do without being told".
  • Perform regular audits.
  • Training and discipline.

Training is goal-oriented process. The result feedback is necessary every month.

This picture can easily resume the 5S process:

I hope that this small introduction helped you to improve your knowledge about 5S method.

John & Partners team.

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