5S is a methodology developed in Japan for workplace organization in order to improve how people work.
The 5 S stands for:
- Sort (Seiri)
- Set In Order (Seiton)
- Shine (Seiso)
- Standardize (Seiketsu)
- Sustain (Shitsuke)
each of which helps describe how to get organized at the workplace in order to achieve efficiency and effectiveness while working. The 5S framework was adopted by the lean manufacturing movement to help improve the way work is done, efficiency and spotting errors or issues.
Let’s look at them each specifically to see what exactly each S means:
The first phase of the 5S is to ensure that the workplace is free from clutter, unwanted items and is generally “sorted” so that only that which is needed is there.
Set In Order
Once only the necessary items for work are determined, they should be placed in such a way as to help: reduce waste (time/movement), increase efficiency and improve ease of work and flow.
Shine refers to keeping the work area clean. This includes regular cleaning of the workplace, but also all the items used for work. This also improves maintenance and helps to spot and issues with the work and tools.
Once all the above are done, ways of working and layout out items can be standardized to improve work and output.
This is an ongoing task and improvements are made or added as found. Training, auditing and making sure that all other parts of the “5S” process are kept in mind at all times are all part of the ongoing improvements and feedback.