Five S (5S) Tutorial

The original 5S principles were stated in Japanese. Because of their proven value, they have been translated and restated in English. The 5S is a mantra of sorts designed to help build a quality work environment, both physically and mentally.

The 5S condition of a work area is critical to the morale of employees and the basis of customers’ first impressions. Management’s attitude regarding employees is reflected in the 5S condition of the work area.

The 5S philosophy applies in any work area. The elements of 5S are simple to learn and important to implement:

  • Sort—Eliminate whatever is not needed
  • Straighten—Organize whatever remains
  • Shine—Clean the work area
  • Standardize—Schedule regular cleaning and maintenance
  • Sustain—Make 5S a way of life

Benefits to be derived from implementing 5S include:

  • Improved safety
  • Higher equipment availability
  • Lower defect rates
  • Reduced costs
  • Increased production agility and flexibility
  • Improved employee morale
  • Better asset utilization
  • Enhanced enterprise image to customers, suppliers, employees, and management

The figure below is an example of a 5S workplace scan diagnostic checklist.

5S workplace scan diagnostic checklist.

Excerpted from Jack B. ReVelle’s Quality Essentials: A Reference Guide from A to Z, ASQ Quality Press, 2004, pages 56-58.

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