5S is a management consulting technique which is employed to efficiently and effectively manage a workplace, be it manufacturing or services, by identification and storage of all the items required, the exact place and color code of each item and making efforts to sustain this process with continuous improvement. 5S, as the name suggests, uses 5 Japanese letters, all starting with S : Seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu and shitsuke which would loosely mean Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain respectively.
5S was generally considered a housekeeping methodology but lately, it is being used to improve processes, systems and personnel.
Seiri-Sort: A shop floor consists of various items, some are regularly used while others are hardly used by anybody, some items are in good working condition while others were used a lifetime ago. Seiri recommends a formal arrangement of all these items in a structured manner.
Seiton –Set in Order: All the items required for a job are placed in there designated places. This is done keeping in mind the flow of work and movement of employees so that an ideal storing space is created and efficiency and safety is promoted in the organization.
Seiso-Shine: The workplace is not required to be clear only but is also to be having high degree of cleanliness to improve the appearance of the work area. The efforts are focused on preventive housekeeping rather than to wait for it to become dirty.
Seiketsu – Standardize: This point envisages that once a required level of cleanliness is achieved, the managers are required to develop procedures so that the recent learning of 5S are standardized and internalized for everyone to follow.
Shitsuke – Sustain: The process managers are expected to always sustain the initial gains from the 5S implementation. They have to ensure that the work place does not become cluttered once again by maintaining focus on the new way of performing different business processes.
5S and Visual Management
5S Principles and Implementation
Increase in Productivity
Improvement of Product Quality
High Employee Morale
Reduced Search time
Improved efficiency by waste reduction
Standardization of processes
Space for expansion with re-layout
Conformance to customer standards
Enhancement of workforce skills
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