Lean Business Solutions
Five S

The 5-S method derives its name from five Japanese terms (seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke), which translate roughly into:

  • Sorting - Deciding what is needed. Frequently used items are stored in the work area. Infrequently used items are stored away from the work area. Unused or rarely used items are disposed of. The benefits of sorting are a safer workplace, saving space, and making it easier to visualize the process and spot discrepancies.
  • Storage - Arranging what is needed. A place for everything, and everything in its place. The benefits are easily identifying what doesn't belong or what is missing, making it easier to find needed items, and locating items close to their point of need.
  • Shining - Keeping the work area neat and clean on an ongoing basis. The benefits included an improved worker attitude, making it easier to identify abnormal conditions, reducing contamination, and improving safety.
  • Standardize - Maintaining a workplace such that deviations become obvious. The benefits include involving everyone in identifying errors and cross-functional learning.
  • Sustaining - Practicing and repeating until it becomes a way of life. The benefits include establishing a culture of competence, and shortening training cycles.

Five S