Principles of 5S

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Principles of 5S

Category : Quality Management

What is 5S?

“5S” is a technique adapted from the Japanese for creating and maintaining a clean, well-ordered work area. The basic idea is very simple and its aims are to have in the work place only those things that are needed and to keep these neat, orderly and readily accessible. The work place can be anywhere that people work which includes the shopfloor, offices and meeting rooms.

What deos 5S involve?

There are five stages to 5S,

1. Seiri – to simplify the work area. Remove unnecessary items
2. Seiton – to straighten and organise work tools and other items
3. Seiso – to sweep clean
4. Seiketsu – to stabilise and maintain the new standards
5. Shitsuke. – to sustain and create a 5S culture

Benefits of 5S?

5S results in a simpler, cleaner and better organised work place. The benefits from this are a safer working environment as there are fewer hazards and safety equipment is easy to locate. The work flows at a quicker and smoother rate, as only items needed to process parts are available and ready for use. Quality is improved, as it is easier to detect mechanical problems and faults on equipment and see problems on parts. 5S creates a better place to work and also to impress our customers on our commitment to a high quality product.

How do we carry out 5S?


Remove all unneeded items from the work area. This should include components, machines, supplies, tooling etc. Dispose of any rubbish. (known as red tagging)



Organise equipment, tooling, supplies, cleaning equipment, etc. Use shadow boards and label all items. Aim to store items off the floor.



Identify areas with labels, taping and paint.



Organise notice boards. Aim for a central spot, remove unnecessary and out of date notices.



Ensure that lighting in inspection and work areas is acceptable.



Clean work area and equipment.



Assign 5S tasks



Set up TPM programmes and assign tasks. This should include tooling.



Set up monthly internal 5S audit plan. Don’t forget to revisit the other 5S stages periodically to keep at a 5S level.


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