5S’s Resource Center

What are the 5S's?

The 5S’s Defined

The 5S’s come from 5 Japanese words (in parentheses) that have been translated into English. While the actual English translation may vary depending on who you are talking to, the meanings remain the same.

Sort (Seiri) | Clearing the work area

  • Any work area should only have the items needed to perform the work in the area. All other items should be cleared (sorted out) from the work area.

Set in Order (Seiso) | Designating locations

  • Everything in the work area should have a place and everything should be in its place.

Shine (Seiso) | Cleanliness & workplace appearance

  • Not only should the work area be clear, it should also be clean.
  • Cleanliness involves housekeeping efforts, improving the appearance of the work area, and even more importantly, preventive housekeeping – keeping the work area from getting dirty, rather than just cleaning it up after it becomes dirty.

Standardize (Seiketsu) | Everyone doing things the same way

  • Everyone in the work area and in the organization must be involved in the 5S effort, creating best practices and then getting everyone to “copy” those best practices the same way, everywhere, and every time. Work area layouts and storage techniques should be standardized wherever possible.

Sustain (Shitsuke) | Ingraining the 5S’s into the culture

  • It’s tough to keep a 5S effort, or any improvement effort for that matter, going. The 5S’s involve a culture change. And to achieve a culture change, it has to be ingrained into the organization – by everyone at all levels in the organization.

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