There is more to 5S than just ‘housekeeping’. 5S, first developed in Japan as part of the Toyota Production System, is a framework for maximizing efficiency through organization and optimization. The 5S methodology is considered to be the foundation of Lean manufacturing, as it creates clutter-free spaces, reduces waste, and improves productivity. It is a quality tool comprised of five steps, each one a Japanese term beginning with the letter S:

  • Seri - Sort
  • Seiton - Set in Order
  • Seiso - Shine
  • Seiketsu - Standardize
  • Shitsuke - Sustain

This systematic approach can be used in any industry and applied to virtually any space, but employee participation and support from leadership is a must. By following the steps outlined in 5S, employees will remove unnecessary items from the space, set tools and materials in a logical manner, and clean the area of any dirt or grime. Managers will standardize cleaning and maintenance procedures, and together the organization will sustain the efforts of 5S.

5S is a simple and valuable start for Lean. It serves as a core element to other Lean strategies – Kaizen, TPM, visual control, etc. – but can make a dramatic impact even when used alone. 5S helps to improve workplace conditions, increase safety, reduce costs, improve morale, prevent defects, and enhance the organization overall.

Creative Safety Supply is dedicated to helping companies get on the path of efficiency. From free guides, podcast interviews, to in-depth articles, we have gathered our best 5S resources below, begin improving your workplace with 5S today.

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5S Articles

Rack Labeling

Rack Labeling

A rack labeling system can vastly improve the efficiency of any warehouse. Barcodes and other rack labels enhance inventory management and allow workers to quickly find items.

6S: Safety

6S: Safety

Safety is the additional sixth step to the traditional 5S method. A company that implements 6S focuses on improving organization and efficiency, with an emphasis on safety throughout each step.

Quality Control in Manufacturing

Quality Control in Manufacturing

Quality control in manufacturing is essential to maintaining a good customer base and keeping rework costs down.

5S Lean Training

5S Lean Training

If you’re new to the concept of 5S, you’ve probably feel confused. This article aims at providing clarity and setting you on the path toward understanding 5S and Lean.

Barcode Labeling

Barcode Labeling

Barcode labeling can help improve efficiency and overall accuracy when working with individual items. Learn how barcode labeling can help improve your business today.

What is QCDSM?

What is QCDSM?

QCDSM: Quality, Cost, Delivery, Safety and Morale. Learn how this simple lean principle can help your business.

Supply Chain Integration

Supply Chain Integration

Supply chain integration refers to the process of integrating all parts of fulfillment into one single system. Learn the steps to get your supply chain integrated into an easy-to-manage system.

Organizational Development Process

Organizational Development Process

Organizational development process is an improvement methodology designed to take known problems and implement changes in order to overcome them.

What is a thermal printer? (direct transfer)

What is a thermal printer? (direct transfer)

Thermal printers are essential to printing in an industrial setting. Learn about the two types of thermal printing to determine which one suits your facility’s needs.

Tool Storage Ideas

Tool Storage Ideas

Lean manufacturing emphasizes organization, but it can be difficult figuring out just how to get started. This article lays out some common and effective ways of getting organized quickly.

Floor Marking For 5S

Floor Marking For 5S

Inexpensive yet endlessly practical floor markings can drastically simplify your 5S efforts, while saving you time and money. Learn more in our latest article.

Asset Tags: Tracking Inventory & Equipment

Asset Tags: Tracking Inventory & Equipment

A simple yet powerful organization tool, asset tags reduce theft, enhance inventory management efforts, and make it easier for employees to find exactly what they need exactly when they need it.

Calculating Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

Calculating Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

Are your lean and 5S efforts making a difference? Crunch the numbers on OEE to find out!

5S System

5S System

A 5S system is an effective way to manage workplace organization in almost any environment. Check out how it can lead to success in your workplace.

Statistical Process Control (SPC) in Manufacturing

Statistical Process Control (SPC) in Manufacturing

Statistical Process Control also known as SPC, is a term used in quality control. Find out how you can use this continuous improvement method.

5 Lean Principles for Process Improvement

5 Lean Principles for Process Improvement

Learning the basics about the lean process is essential when implementing continuous improvement changes. We have broken down the lean process so its easy to understand.

Cross-Docking (Understanding Efficient Warehouses)

Cross-Docking (Understanding Efficient Warehouses)

Cross docking is a logistical strategy where products and materials are unloaded from one inbound sourceand then immediately moved onto outbound transportation with as little storage time as possible.

How to Implement 5S in an Organization

How to Implement 5S in an Organization

It takes significant effort to implement a proper 5S program, but following the right steps will drive success and help the process go smoothly.

Lean Supplies

Lean Supplies

Learn what supplies and tools you can use to make Lean manufacturing efforts successful.

The 5S System [Lean Manufacturing Methodology]

The 5S System [Lean Manufacturing Methodology]

One of the most comprehensive pages you will find on 5S.

Tool Box Organizers – 19 Tips & Hacks for Your Tool Box

Tool Box Organizers – 19 Tips & Hacks for Your Tool Box

Use these tool foam organizer tips and hacks get your workspace in order and simplify your life.


5S Questions and Answers

Who should implement 5S?

There are many workplace efficiency and improvement programs available for companies to consider, so it is important to take the time to understand them and choose which ones will be most effective. While many of these types of programs can’t work together, 5S is different. It can be very effective as a stand-alone strategy, but… 

What is the 5S methodology?

The 5S methodology is a process by which companies can improve efficiency, eliminate waste, improve safety, and benefit the bottom line. It has been used since the 1970s in essentially its current form, though many of its strategies go back throughout human history. Despite the fact that this is one of the best-known business improvement… 

How can 5S be used in different industries?

When most people think about 5S they assume that it is going to be for manufacturing, or perhaps warehousing. The fact is, however, that the 5S strategies can be extremely helpful in virtually any workplace, or even in people’s private lives. Popular Examples There are hundreds of examples of non-manufacturing companies using 5S already. For example, many… 

Where do I start with 5S?

When it comes to 5S, there is no shortage of information available online, in books, and just about anywhere else you look. While this information can be extremely helpful, it can also be quite overwhelming. For many people, it is hard to figure out exactly where to start when it comes to 5S. If you’re… 

What are the origins of 5S?

The 5S methodologies have been around for quite some time now, helping millions of companies eliminate waste and improve efficiencies. In their current, more standardized, form, the systems got their beginning in the 1970s from the Toyota Motor Company. At this time 5S was identified as one of the different systems that would enable ‘Just in… 

What is 5S housekeeping?

The 5S system is a proven way to improve just about any work environment. It helps to identify inefficiencies and provides an outline on how to eliminate them so that tasks can be completed more quickly, and with fewer errors. The concepts behind 5S are really quite simple, and have been proven effective almost throughout… 

What are some examples of 5S strategies?

When considering 5S for your facility you will likely find plenty of resources to learn about what each of the “S’s” stand for, why it is effective, and much more. While these are very useful, it is sometimes best to just take a look at some specific examples of 5S strategies to see how it… 

What are 5S red tags?

5S red tags are a simple product that can really help to ‘make or break’ the whole system. They are specifically used for the sort process in the 5S program. When employees sort through items in an area, they will use red tags to classify them. Anything that is not needed in a specific area… 

How can I sustain 5S?

When looking through each of the five main areas of focus for 5S, most people wouldn’t think that ‘shitsuke’ (translated as sustain) would be the hardest to successfully implement. The fact is, however, that more companies fail to have a successful 5S system in place because of this S than any other. Businesses often get excited… 

Where can 5S be used?

When people hear about 5S implementations, they typically think first of manufacturing facilities, warehousing companies, and other related systems. While these are certainly the most popular industries that use the 5S strategies, they are not the only places where 5S can be found. Over the past several decades, companies across most industries have seen the value… 

How does 5S improve safety?

When looking at the 5S methodology, it is clear that it is a great way to identify and eliminate various types of waste in the workplace. When done properly, 5S can also help to improve the overall safety in the facility. In fact, it has been shown to be so effective at improving safety that… 

Is 5S different from kaizen?

There are many different strategies and methodologies used to improve businesses in the world today. A surprising number of them were developed in Japan, and have ‘interesting’ sounding Japanese names, which can get confusing. 5S (where each S is a Japanese word) and Kaizen, for example, both come from Japan, and are both focused on… 

How do I implement 5S in my organization?

5S is one of the most effective and popular workplace organization methodologies in place today. It has been around for decades, and is used by thousands of companies around the world. If you have been learning about this effective strategy for improving organization, eliminating waste, and benefiting the company as a whole, you may be… 

How does 5S help the business to grow?

When discussing the 5S methodologies, most people look at how the strategies can identify waste and help find ways to eliminate it. While this can help to save money for the company, that is really just the beginning. When properly implemented, 5S can help a business to grow, expand, and find improved success over time.… 

Is there a difference between 5S and Six Sigma?

When a business is looking to improve the way they operate, they often look into a variety of different strategies or methodologies to meet their needs. When researching, they will likely come across Six Sigma and 5S as good options. Due to the fact that they are both workplace improvement strategies, and that they both… 

What is the difference between 5S and 6S?

5S is a popular workplace organization strategy that works to improve efficiency, eliminate waste, and generally benefit the entire facility. It has been around for decades now, and is proven effective in many ways. Over the years, many people noticed that while 5S can do a lot to help improve the safety of a facility,… 

When was 5S introduced?

5S is a very popular workplace organization methodology that was first developed in Japan. The true origin of 5S is a little bit confusing. It was first officially introduced in the 1970’s in the Toyota motor company. Many people make the argument, however, that the concepts behind 5S began as far back as the 16th… 

Why does 5S fail sometimes?

Virtually all companies that choose to implement a 5S system will get started with the best of intentions. Unfortunately for many facilities, after a time people lose their focus on 5S and it falls by the wayside. Understanding why 5S sometimes fails is something that all companies should learn before beginning their implementation, so they… 

What are the 5 S’s and what do they stand for?

5S is a popular methodology that is focused on eliminating waste and improving organization. It is typically applied to workplace environments, especially manufacturing, warehousing, other related industries. It can be used in just about any field, or even in one’s personal life. The methodology gets its name from the fact that its 5 main concepts… 

5S Blog Posts

5S Infographics

5S is the Foundation of any Lean Program

5S is the Foundation of any Lean Program

Text From Infographic 5S is the Foundation of any Lean Program WHAT IS 5S? The 5S methodology is a systematic approach to workplace… 

5S Podcasts

Actively Caring For People. What? Hear what Behavioral Safety has become. In this podcast, we talk with Dr. E. Scott Geller,… 

Lean success means increasing safety and efficiency. Yes, improve operations and save money simultaneously. Lean implementer Matt Wrye explains how. Matt… 

Kaizen events that rock—time to increase efficiency in your organization! Lean/Six Sigma expert Mark Hamel tells of how to implement… 

Starting A Visual Workplace—improving efficiency with Visuality. Dr. Gwendolyn Galsworth explains better work flow through visual devices. Dr. Galsworth defines the… 

Starting Lean Six Sigma, Pt. 2 continues with Six Sigma Black Belt Chuck Hardy. Chuck tells of the value of… 

Starting Lean Six Sigma with an expert. Chuck Hardy is a Black Belt in Six Sigma. Chuck tells of lean… 

Lean Methodology In Healthcare — hear Mark Graban on 5S, Six Sigma, and “lean Sigma” in the medical world. Mark Graban… 

Safety Experts Talk is the place where manufacturing and construction experts discuss safety and continuous improvement. Listen to keep workers… 

Safety goals in the workplace can be implemented or refined at year’s end to ensure a safe start to the… 

Lean safety is the result of implementing “lean” methodology. Lean makes businesses less wasteful, more efficient and more profitable. An… 

Increase efficiency by red-tagging items you don’t need immediately. Store them or get rid of them. Red tagging is part of… 

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