5S: What is It & Why do I Care?

5S is part of the Toyota Production System. 5S is meant to reduce waste and increase productivity by organizing spaces, keeping a clean work environment, and using visual cues to improve results. In this article, we will cover the five pillars of 5S and their benefits. 

1.    Sort (Seiri)
The first step of 5S aims to eliminate unnecessary items from the workplace that take up space. Sorting rids the workplace of broken tools and excess materials and is usually done visually by tagging unneeded items and removing them to reclaim floor space.

2.    Set in Order (Seiton)
With the sorting out of the way, it’s time to focus on creating effective storage methods. Creating efficient storage methods allows employees to pick out needed items more easily – whether that’s a tool for maintenance or in an office space, to find needed information in a timely manner. 

3.    Shine (Seiso)
Once strategies for organization and storage are established, the next step is to make sure to clean the work environment. A clean work environment has the benefit of allowing employees to better identify issues with equipment or identify the most recent copy of a document in digital format.

4.    Standardize (Seiketsu)
After completing the first three pillars, it’s important to create consistency in the workplace by implementing best practices. Some tools that can help standardize the workplace are checklists, start-up procedures, and visual cues such as placards. 

5.    Sustain (Shitsuke)
The last, and often considered the most difficult, pillar of 5S is maintaining all of the pillars you have already established. It can be helpful to create newsletters, manuals, signs, and performance reviews to sustain the practices put in place.
5S is a method for increasing productivity in the workplace and reducing waste by implementing its five pillars. Here at Adonis, we offer Lean/Sigma Coaching that will equip you with a deeper understanding of how to implement 5S through the Lean & Six Sigma toolkit.