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Application of 5S in an industrial environment

Work More Efficiently with the 5S Method

Do your employees waste precious time looking for documents or tools in their workspace? Is your working environment crowded? Does the workplace setup reduce motivation and hinder performance?

The 5S method is designed to solve these and other organizational problems created by inefficient organization and cleanliness in departments, office spaces, workshops, etc. It is based on the observation that a clean and tidy workplace is conducive to good production quality.

With the 5S steps, organizations can reduce waste and implement greater performance efficiency, all while creating a better work environment for employees.

Definition of the 5S Management Technique

5S optimizes your work environment by keeping it tidy, clean and safe. Each "S" in 5S stands for a system of work that is quick and easy to put in place. Developed in Japan, this method consists of 5 steps. The specifics of each step can differ, depending on your operation, creating a flexible method that can be designed and implemented in workshops, factories, services, offices, or even in your home! 

  • 1st S: SEIRI

    SORT - Elimination is the first priority in 5S. Start by getting rid of everything that is not absolutely necessary. It’s important to keep what’s important, but it’s just as important to eliminate what isn’t.

  • 2nd S : SEITON

    SET IN ORDER - Tidying up means putting things in specific places and returning them after use so they can be found straight away when needed.

  • 3rd S : SEISO

    SHINE - Cleaning offices, work places, and production tools is not just cleaning for the sake of cleanliness. In some cases, such as machines and tools, it's a first step toward preventive maintenance. It's often during cleaning that anomalies and premature wear are detected.

  • 4th S : SEIKETSU

    STANDARDIZE - This stage defines rules by which the workplace will remain free of unnecessary objects, tidy, and clean. To eliminate the risk of disorder, Visual Management relies on a number of aids.

  • 5th S : SHITSUKE

    SUSTAIN - Newly established rules must be practiced repeatedly, and therefore staff must adhere to rules at all times. It’s a simple case of routinely doing what needs to be done, so that 5S becomes a routine.

the 5s of the Lean method

Method Created by Toyota Production System (TPS)

The 5S method was developed by the Toyota group for the Toyota Production System. The 5S approach aims to improve the employee's working environment, but it is not the only Lean method created by Toyota. Inspired by Ford, Toyota has proven to be efficient and has been further developed with the creation of the 5S method. This remodeled technique has proven itself over time. It is a company management tool that aims to:

5S Objectives

Progress is possible when everybody makes a commitment. This collective commitment starts by taking into account each person’s work environment (machine, line, laboratory, office, store, etc.).

More than just a simple technique for keeping order, 5S is first and foremost a participative management method that gets employees involved in improving the organization of a workplace. This action calls for participation at every level of the hierarchy.

All five parts of 5S are vital when embarking on a continuous improvement initiative. Each step helps to foster the necessary mindset for continual improvement.

5s lean method

Benefits - Direct Results

Benefits - Behavior

  • Communicating and leading a team based on well-defined topics (the five “S”)
  • Establishing standards (rules)
  • Capitalizing on knowledge and know-how as assets
  • Respecting commitments and collective rules (“saying what you do and doing what you say”)
  • Re-examining habits
  • Encouraging employee driven initiatives and creative solutions
  • Delegating certain activities to internal stakeholders
  • Ensuring ongoing progress with long lasting results
  • Improving workflow

Examples of 5S

Succeeding in Implementing 5S

The 5S approach is participative. You must ask production operators to revisit their work in terms of efficiency, based on their experience, everyday constraints, and any ideas for improvement that they might put forward and implement. This roll-out method is especially motivating because it gets participants immersed and involved.

Implementing 5S is also an opportunity to enrich operators’ jobs by delegating the routine servicing of machines and equipment. It may be necessary to provide initial training from maintenance experts, who can work with your operators to develop the appropriate operating procedures. For many operators, this experience is enriching and very positive. It elevates their job to more than fetching, carrying, and twiddling knobs and more readily involves their input on a day-to-day basis.

5S Training Game

Learning by playing team games is a more effective and sustainable way to learn and create new habits. Training games enhances everyone’s work experience by providing rich, original and rewarding learning situations. Team members who play a 5S training game gain a personal experience that increases their awareness of the need for 5S. They will also understand how to put it into practice and how to apply it to their everyday work.

Average duration: 2h to 3h
Participants discover the importance and principles of 5S by reconstructing scenarios with images that represent the five steps of 5S on a board game.

Number of participants: the ideal number per game is 10 people: operators, technicians, team leaders, heads of workshop, executives, etc.

LEAN training game

Enhance Your Training Further

5S Method Starter Kit: Fast and efficient construction of various LEAN projects such as: 5S, HOSHIN, KAIZEN, SMED, LEAN, Dashboard of autonomous teams as part of the PILOTE project as a result of the game.

Results: collective, shared and effective success.

Find the other LEAN methods: 5S, Kaizen, Six Sigma, LEAN Office, LEAN Manufacturing, TPM, OEE, Machine Day, Visual Management.

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