Empowering Lean Solutions for Everyone


  • What does 5S mean?
  • What is 3S Housekeeping?
  • What do I gain if I decide to implement it in my company?
  • What training is available?
  • What steps do I need to take to implement it?
  • How do I perform the audit?

5S Definition:

5S is a philosophy and a method for organizing the workplace and managing it in a way that minimizes any type of waste, thus improving the overall efficiency.

We adopted this name from Toyota.

They placed together 5 concepts that start with the letter S.

In order, each S is, in Japanese:

Seiri – Sorting

Seiton – Setting in order, Straightening, Simplifying

Seiso – Sweeping, Shining, Systematic cleaning

Seiketsu – Standardizing

Shitsuke – Sustaining

Do not worry, you don’t have to remember the Japanese terms by heart (nor do you need to pronounce them, ever!)

Mind you, the translation is approximate, as the Japanese have a more philosophical approach, charged with meaning.

By applying each component in order, from Sorting to Sustaining, the goal is to minimize any activity that does not add some value.

For more detailed information on each component, please follow the link to the “5S Principles”. 3S Housekeeping means regular cleaning and should be practiced by every company. It can be audited and improved upon. It also forms the foundation the 5S program will be built upon.

What do I gain if I decide to implement 5S in my company?

1. Increased Efficiency (Company)

5S affects deeply the efficiency of your operations, whether we refer to the plant floor or an office environment.

Imagine that your people don’t have to walk extensively to find specific tools, as they are now placed on some shadow boards, always in plain view and handy.

But they don’t have to bump into unnecessary equipment or materials either as they are now
removed from the site.

One of the ways it increases efficiency is by eliminating waste. This point brings me to the concept of “Seven Wastes”. (Oh, no, another cryptic notion…..)

Simply put, how can you understand what adds value and what is a waste of time and resources?

There are so many things to see and questions to ask….You’ll be amazed at how much WASTE you can see just by looking.

2. Better Morale (Employees)

Your people feel that they are valued and that their work is more appreciated as the work conditions have improved.

Less frustration is visible when people don’t have to waste their time looking for things, or don’t have to clean after others or have less bending and stretching to do.

3.Satisfied Client (Customer)

After all, if your (potential) customer sees that you cannot keep your plant organized, they will have great concerns about your ability to keep your process in control and
deliver a good product.

So by implementing it, they can rest assured that you are in control and have their best interest at heart.

See how important the relationship between the interests of the customer, the company shareholders and the employees is? Its balance is vital for a business to thrive in this complex environment.

What training is available?

For information, please follow the link to Training.

What steps do I need to take to implement a successful program?

It is a simple process. Yet, so many companies fail. It’s sad. If they would only set up an Implementation plan and stick to it…

How do I perform the Audit?

The 5S audit is crucial in sustaining the program.

You can use an audit sheet and walk with it through the area that needs to be inspected.

Very important is to follow up on your findings and ensure that somebody is going to rectify the condition by the next audit or in the allotted time.

Otherwise the audit becomes an exercise in futility.