5S Resource Center


Sustain is perhaps the most difficult phase of the 5S’s.

  • You would think that after going through the trouble of Sorting, Setting in Order, Shining, and Standardizing that the fifth S, Sustain, would be easy.
  • But, unfortunately, Sustain is perhaps the toughest of the 5S’s.

Communication is necessary to reinforce the 5S’s.

  • Sustaining requires keeping everyone involved, continually reinforcing what and why the 5S’s are important.
  • Communication becomes the spotlight for a 5S initiative. Keep reinforcing the message and emphasizing roles and responsibilities.
  • Sustaining the 5S’s requires leadership, commitment, and allocation of the time and resources necessary to keep the effort vital.
  • Recognition for jobs done well becomes the fuel that keeps the effort dynamic.

Preventing backsliding

  • Audits can serve as on-going checks on 5S activities.
  • A teamwork approach builds a common effort toward achieving a common goal.
  • Soliciting ideas for improvement will generate ideas to improve and help sustain the 5S effort.
  • And reacting immediately to problems is a must or the organization can quickly slide back to old habits.

Sustaining the 5S effort takes a lot of work. It takes commitment and involvement by everyone to keep the effort going and to prevent the organization from just sliding back into the old ways of doing things.