How 5S Can Create Efficient Workplace Management

by Anthony Jones

Check List 5S

In my last blog post, titled “HSEQ in a Manufacturing Facility: This is what you should check”, I covered important areas that can help you improve the HSEQ management of your manufacturing facility. However, to help you to create an efficient workplace you need to know about the 5S system.


What is 5S?

5S is system developed for lean management in manufacturing. 5S is a helpful tool for you to use to organize your workplace, as well as to make production and HSEQ checks easier in the future. By improving your quality, you reduce waste, which increases profit.

While 5S was born in Japan, it has been implemented by several companies around the world.  The 5 S's stand for: seiri (sort), seiton (set), seiso (shine), seiketsu (standardise), and shitsuke (sustain). To make it easier to understand, I will use the English version of the S’s in this blog.


1. Sort

As you can likely tell from its name, this S refers to sorting out of your work stations. Simply remove all unnecessary clutter and waste that doesn’t need to be there. To help you clear out your space, you can add tags on the articles that need to be discarded. This way, you prevent issues in the future.


2. Set

This S is also known as “set-in-order”, and focuses on organisation.
This S helps you organise your work tools and label them so that you and your employees know where they belong after being used. This will allow you to experience higher levels of efficiency since everyone knows where items are.


3. Shine

This S will help you make sure that all of your materials and equipment are shining clean at the end of every work day and during workplace inspections. By ensuring that your workplace is clean, you can limit health hazards for your employees and improve safety for everyone at work. This also reduces the risk of accidental production quality faults.


4. Standardise

This S is for routine. Standardise who is responsible for cleaning, sorting and setting things in order for every employee. You can make a checklist of responsibilities that has a schedule of what tasks needs to be done by a certain time, and assign them to your employees. That way, everyone is responsible for ensuring an organised and clean workplace.


5. Sustain

This S is for long-term goals. Make 5S an integrated part of your company strategy inside of production management, safety walks and HSEQ checks. You will find that you and your employees will know where things are and when equipment was last cleaned. Everyone will also be on top on checks coming up in the future. This S, therefore, is an integral part of internal communications. It will help you and your employees communicate efficiently to ensure the organization and cleanliness of the workstations.


By implementing 5S, you are proactively engaging everyone in the company to take responsibility for order, HSEQ checks, and production checks.

As mentioned last time, the most important element of success in your company are the people. When you engage them in 5S maintenance, you give them a purpose in the company which includes more than just their job function. That will provide you with happier employees who want to do their best to make the company a safer place to work.

By implementing 5S and facilitating individual employees, your organisation also becomes more lean for potential crisis and change. If you want to broaden your knowledge about that subject, check out blog series about the VUCA framework.

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Check List 5S

Anthony Jones

Chief Operating Officer