Introduction to the 5S Method

Introduction to 5SIf your company is like most organizations, you’re searching for a competitive edge. Something that will reduce costs, increase sales, and make you more agile in a changing business environment.

You’ve found it. Simply put, 5S is a systematic approach to workplace organization.

But it’s also much more than that. 5S is about efficiency, competitiveness, and survival. It is a deceptively simple system that creates an organized and productive workplace.

It’s not just about cleaning up and eliminating toolboxes. 5S creates a workplace environment that can adapt and succeed.

Chaos and unproductivity are your enemies; organization and efficiency are your allies.

If implemented correctly and followed diligently, 5S will lead to:

  • Lower costs
  • Better quality
  • Improved safety
  • Increased productivity
  • Higher employee satisfaction

From the offices of upper management to the workstations in the factory, the power of this system will quickly reveal itself in your bottom line.

The Five Pillars of 5S

Originally developed by Hiroyuki Hirano for manufacturing companies in Japan, the principles of 5S translate well to the laboratory, the repair facility, and even the corporate office. Almost any work environment will bene t from the structure and efficiency this model provides.

5S is sometimes called the five pillars because just like the physical pillars that hold up a structure, 5S has five elements that support the effectiveness of the system.

And just like the pillars of a building, if one was to weaken or fail, the entire structure would fall.

The five steps/pillars of 5S are:

  1. Sort
  2. Set in Order
  3. Shine
  4. Standardize
  5. Sustain

5S is a system, a philosophy, and a culture.

The true power of 5S reveals itself when your whole organization embraces its ideals and your employees see that your business is transforming itself. It empowers employees to take pride in the space and motivates them to maintain it.

The 5S model for workplace efficiency and organization is both powerful and simple. It has the potential to transform your company into a safe and productive warehouse, manufacturing facility, or office.

One of 5S’s most powerful attributes is that it’s a visual model. Using tools like customizable tool foam, signs, labels, and tags will greatly improve your 5S efforts. Vision is our dominant sense, and because 5S uses colors, lines, and labels to organize, following the steps becomes second nature very easily.

Remove the clutter with Sort, organize with Set to Order, clean with Shine, set your routine with Standardize, and motivate with Sustain.

Additional Resources