Workplace management through 5S

Workplace management through 5S

The origin of 5S

5S was developed in Japan and was identified as one of the techniques that enabled Just in Time manufacturing.

Two major frameworks for understanding and applying 5S to business environments have arisen, one proposed by Osada, the other by Hirano. Hirano provided a structure for improvement programs with a series of identifiable steps, each building on its predecessor. As noted by John Bicheno Toyota’s adoption of the Hirano approach, is ‘4S’, with Seiton and Seiso combined. (Source: Wikipedia)

What is 5S?

5S is a method or a tool that helps to systematically achieve organization, cleanliness, and standardization in the workplace environment. A well-organized workplace results in a safer, more efficient, and more productive operation.  It helps to boosts the morale of the employees and promoting a sense of pride in their work & ownership of their responsibilities.

SEIRI – Sort Out

  • Separation of all items including the necessary and unnecessary:
  • Completely clear cupboards, cabinets, tables and racks
  • You sort through all items
  • All items that are not scrap need to be compiled at a designated location
  • immediately prior to removal of unnecessary items
  • Designate a red tag location for items awaiting disposition
  • Carrying out basic cleaning and making issues more recognizable
  • Visualize measures critical to the specific area

SEITON – Straighten

  • Organize the necessary items at the correct place for the Creation of an
  • Optimal and effective environment.
  • Definition of a location and address for every item
  • Label all locations (Size and name)
  • Define the quantity for materials and commodities
  • Construct tool, cleaning, and assembly part boards
  • Define the status of an area/process with visual management for example photographs, traffic light systems, and symbols

Put in order so that they are ready when needed

Some symptoms of absence of Seiton in Offices

  • Only the Storekeeper/ Helper Knows where certain materials & parts are kept.
  • No one can find the key to the locked cabinet containing needed documents.
  • Brooms are found leaning against tables, walls & Pillars.
  • Some document files have no identification labels.
  • The Statutory Inspector is here. Nobody can find the required register.
  • He had to get his nose plastered because someone opened a door hastily when he was approaching it.
  • There is hardly any difference in the way thingsare stored in his desk drawers and his dust-bin.
  • His desk-drawers when emptied were found crammed full of enough pencils, erasers, markers to lasthis whole department for 3 months.
  • Ever since he entered the Toilet, he is searching for a soap towash his hands.
  • The boss wants a report; only the PAknows where it is. Let us make a call and ask him.

How to store?

1. Clearly Separate     ——-  Ready Access-Storage &  Remote-Storage Sites.

2. Clearly Label           ——-  All Storages & Documents

3. Determine               ——-  Storage Periods in advance

4. Put Labels on          ——-  All Storage Containers

5. Describe                  ——- Contents, Storage Period & Person in Charge

6. Establish & Enforce —— Clear Rules for Remote Storage 


  • Ready access storage
  • Remote storage


  • Folder
  • Binder


  • Region
  • Subject
  • Alphabetically
  • Code

Storage rules for Seiton

  • Point of Storage should be near to Point of Use.
  •  Storage should be in the sequence of operation.
  •  Returning back the things should be so easy thatwe can put it without even looking.
  •  Returning back the things should be so easy thatwe can put it without even thinking.

Keys to success


KEY 2   :  MAKE THINGS EASIER TO GET FOR USE (Routinely needed materials within easy reach)




Ten Golden rules of Storage

  1. Air free storage
  2. Climb Free
  3. Bend free
  4. Count free
  5. Search free
  6. FIFO
  7. Heavy material at ground
  8. Fast consumables near entrance
  9. Adequate lighting
  10. Adequate ventilation

SEISO – Scrub

  • Materials, machines and the environment are clean and ready.
  • Cleaning supplies are available
  • The employee knows when and how something is cleaned
  • The areas to be cleaned and all needed supplies are defined
  • Single checks are carried out
  • Cleaning standards and check lists exist and are visible
  • During the cleaning issues are recognized, marked and worked off continuously and immediately.

What to do?

  • Quick 5 S drills
  • Individual responsibility
  • Make cleaning and inspection easier
  • Sparkling clean campaign
  • Everybody is a janitor
  • Perform cleaning inspections and correct minor problems
  • Clean even the places most people do not notice
  • Eliminating trash, filth and foreign matter for a cleaner workplace
  • Cleaning as a form of inspection
  • Aims:

          - A degree of cleanliness commensurate with your needs

          - Achieving zero grime and zero dirt

          - Understanding that cleaning is inspecting

SEIKETSU -Standardization

Maintaining a spotless workplace

The workplace can be kept clean and tidy ifeveryone puts in a little effort.The secret is in remembering three NOprinciples:

– NO unnecessary items
– NO mess
– NO dirt

To be able to do routine / repetitivework in the best known way.
To ensure that quantity & quality ofwork is consistent.
To provide a basis for improvement.
To provide a basis for daily management/supervision.
To provide a basis for training newemployees.

What is to be standardized?

Workstation layout, work area layouts
Work in Process (WIP)
Sequence of work
Cycle time of work
Material and tools used
Machines and their process parameters
Quality parameters, methods of measurement, reactionand reporting method
What, Where, When, Who & How of work

Characteristics of Good standards

Should only have one at a time
Assures quality, cost, delivery &safety.
Shows relationship between causes& effect
Easy to follow

When preparing Standards…It is important to ensure:

That the work procedures are appropriate
That the standards are expressed in specific, concrete terms
That the priorities are clear
That the standards are easily understood andmake plentiful use of diagrams and charts.

Standardization checkpoints

Is the standardization system company-wide?
Is the setting, revision, and abolition ofstandards encouraged?
Have official procedures been laid down forsetting, revising, and abolishing standards?
Is accumulation of technology promoted?
Are standards being utilized?
Are standards up to-date and capable of beingput into practice

SHITSUKE – Sustain/Self Discipline

How to respond to criticism?

The best way to improve is to take seriously the criticisms directed at you.


Response to criticism is also based on 4W and 1H


The leader is a model for the team

Workers at the workplace can learn a lot from the dynamic interchange between people who know that constructive criticism is important for learning.


  • The head of the department and the head of a section are both company leaders, but the group leader is a person who has the most effect on the actual place.
  • People who are serious about their work should be able to give and accept criticism
  • If discipline is clearly lacking in the workplace, bosses should give constructive criticism to group leaders rather than the individual workers.
  • The group leader is the person responsible for creating the general character of the workplace.
  • The group leader’s commitment will have a positive effect on the workers….

Benefits of 5S

The major benefit of 5S is the increase in productivity resulting from the elimination of time waste when tracking down or accessing process materials and data.

As a consequence, the 5S approach leads to improved services, employee satisfaction, cost reduction and a better use of materials.

5S is suitable for any workplace, whether a physical or computer environment, from small areas such as desks and personal computers to larger areas such as open spaces or the company’s server. In any case, the procedures for workplace management develop according to a similar sequence.

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