5S Methodology

One of the core elements of Lean Manufacturing is a sound 5S program. This will help create a solid foundation for an organization to drive a successful continuous improvement program. 5S is a systematic and methodical approach to create a safe and effective work environment.


  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced cost
  • Improved safety
  • Reduced of storage space
  • Improved maintenance
  • Employee satisfaction and commitment
  • Improved quality

The 5S methodology consists of 5 steps that compliment each other in improving and sustaining an organized and progressive work place.

Sort (Seiri)

The first S “Sort” focuses on elimination of unnecessary articles from the workplace. Asking the questions of how frequently items are used, who uses it and Does it really need to be there will help determine what items need to be in the area based on the value of each item.

Set / Straighten (Seiton)

Once all the clutter is removed from the area step 2 “Set in Order” comes into play. Every item in the area should be assigned a designated place. The location of each item should be easy to identify and accessible based on the usage of each item. Frequently used items should be at hand, and infrequent items should be accessible but not underfoot.

Shine / Sweep (Seiso)

The next step “Shine” does not refer to just optimally cleaning up the area; but includes continuous house cleaning activities including a planned preventive maintenance program. This should be a daily routine not just a one time or occasional clean-up.

Standardize (Seiketsu)

Now that the first three steps are complete it is time to develop well defined responsibilities, create a schedule and set goals for each area. The goal is to create a best practices model that will help standardize the organization and continue to build on the 5S program

Sustain (Shitsuke)

The last step is to ensure the 5S program continues to move smoothly throughout the organization. Everyone in the organization must stay engaged. Managers as well as the employees on the manufacturing floor and in the office need to participate. Training in 5S best practices for each employee’s area is one of the best ways to sustain the 5S program. Everyone is challenged to look for opportunities to improve the program.