5S Process Improvement

5S and Lean Manufacturing is a workplace organization method that uses a list Five (5) Japanese words: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. These have been translated as “Sort”, “Set In Order”, “Shine”, “Standardize” and “Sustain”. The term “5S (Five S)” was generalized in 1980’s in manufacturing sector in Japan, as Toyota Production System (TPS) became famous in the sector and “5S activities” were set as one of the bases of TPS.
5S is a philosophy and a way of organizing and managing the workspace and work flow with the intent to improve efficiency by eliminating waste, improving flow and reducing process unreasonableness.

5S Japanese English
S1 Seiri Sort
S2 Seiton Set
S3 Seiso Shine
S4 Seiketsu Standardize
S5 Sitsuke Sustain

In many industry sectors, as 6th “S” has been added for “Safety”

Target Outcomes and Benefits typically include reducing:

  • Non-value adding activity
  • Mistakes from employees and suppliers
  • Time for employee orientation and training
  • Search time in navigating the facility and locating tools, parts and supplies
  • Parts stored in inventory, and associated inventory carrying costs
  • Unnecessary human motion and transportation of goods

And Improving:

  • Floor space utilization
  • Employee safety and morale
  • Product Quality
  • Equipment life through more frequent cleaning and inspection

5S produces measurable benefits. One of the surest ways to identify these benefits is to establish and track specific metrics. For example, measure the time required to locate items in the workplace before 5S and then measure the time required after the workspace has been improved. Longer term benefits can also be measured by monitoring the amount of workplace injuries reported after 5S has been implemented. Not only may workplace injuries decrease, but training costs may, too. It is easier and faster to train employees in a work area that is orderly and well-marked.

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