18 October, 2022

The 5S

 The 5S
Have you ever looked for something and then realised how much time you wasted not finding it? How frustrating! You could have done so much more with that time had you implemented a 5S!  

Imagine if an employee in a workshop could not find his or her tool, what a loss of efficiency! Or if an employee gets injured because of a wrong indication of a hazard, that's a much longer loss of time and consequently a slowdown in the performance of his team. What about the feeling of the employees in these moments... The frustration, the discouragement that this can cause, or even a total disengagement of the employee.  

We all wish we had workshops and warehouses as tidy as our grandfather's shed, where every tool has its place, rather than our teenager's bedroom, where everything is lying around on the floor and the risk of accidental snagging in the carpet is much greater!  

About fifty years ago, Toyota understood this. They created the 5S method and implemented it in all their production lines. With constant improvement in mind, they developed a solution to increase performance on the shop floor while ensuring the safety of employees.  

This visual management approach of the 5S makes it easy to identify where things are. It allows you to:   

  • Reduce wasted time  

  • Improve employee health and safety  

  • Reduce hygiene and sanitation problems  

  • Practice team discipline by setting and maintaining work standards  


What do the 5 S' actually mean?  


Well, each letter of the 5 S' represents a Japanese verb that defines an action. You will guess that these represent a category of actions to be worked on within a department or a small company.   

Seiri: Select      


 The criteria for sorting are set. For example, let's take the case of a maintenance workshop in a company. Can the tools be categorised? How often are they used? How many of these tools should I have? Is it really necessary to have it?   Then we sort them out: which items are broken, non-functional, etc.  

Seiton: Situating       


Before placing the items, the space is organised with the right shelves and identification, and then the products are arranged. Products are arranged according to their frequency of use and size. A list of the stored items with their locations will facilitate the continuity of the organisation later.   

Seiso: Shining 


In order to maintain a clean space, to ensure the safety of all and to help tidying up efforts, it is a good habit to establish a daily maintenance routine, along with audits and prevention throughout the year.  

Seiketsu: Standardising   


Visual identification is very important in this step. Instructions and warnings should be clear, simple to understand and standardised to maintain the first three steps.   

Shitsuke: Sustain  


The key words for this last step: Rigour and teamwork! A close follow-up with external and internal audits, as well as the implementation of written procedures, will allow a sustained validation of the respect of the standards and their improvement.   

When we support our clients in implementing such a methodology, we encourage them to celebrate successes and to highlight the efforts made by employees. With a shared commitment to success, it is much easier to achieve goals in a timely manner. That is why we also involve all the teams concerned in the implementation and integrate them into our implementation strategy. This creates a real sense of participation by employees in the progress of a project for the good of the organisation, better cohesion between the different groups, and simplifies their daily work!  

Would you like to know more about how we can support you in implementing the 5S method? We will be happy to help you out! Contact us

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