What is the 5 S System, and what are best practices, tools and templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of 5 S System
The 5 S System is an essential Lean efficiency process consisting of 5 steps that are based on the following Japanese terms:
- Seiri – Sort
- Seiton – Set
- Seiso – Shine
- Seiketsu – Standardize
- Shitsuke – Sustain
The purpose of the process is to ensure the physical space a business occupies remains well-organized, easy to navigate, and conducive to productivity. Each “S” represents a different step towards creating a safe, efficient, and clean work area, which helps increase employee satisfaction and quality and value for customers.
Description of 5 S System
A basic overview of each of the 5 steps is provided below:
This step involves going through all of the resources in a work space and clear out the old and unnecessary equipment, materials, etc. to reduce clutter. Individuals who work in the space are the most likely to know what supplies and equipment are necessary or not, and tagging each item based on its frequency of use helps determine what is needed. Items that receive a red tag are deemed unnecessary and are placed aside for removal. Those items whose function isn’t immediately clear can be held for review at a specified time.
Set is the process of determining what the most orderly configuration is for the equipment, supplies and materials that were kept in the workspace. The tasks that are conducted in each space can help clarify what the most ergonomic layout should be. For lean purposes, Set should be used to identify ways in which greater physical organization and consolidation can reduce wait time and travel for customers.
The essence of Shine is to ensure the workspace is clean at all times and that the tools and equipment are properly maintained. Cleaning frequently is necessary to ensure a comfortable and healthy working environment, and by encouraging everyone to take responsibility for doing their part, it becomes a standard practice. Ensuring equipment is always ready to use reduces unanticipated defects interrupting workflow.
Once the first three steps are accomplished, Standardize is the step that formalizes all of the various tasks necessary to keep the workspace organized and clean on a consistent basis. Creating schedules, routines, assignments, instructions, labels, and visual aids to ensure proper storage of supplies creates an accountable system in which employees take ownership over the maintenance of the workspace.
The final step, Sustain, is about ensuring adherence to the 5 S System in the long-term, maintaining and continuously improving upon the processes developed over the course of the 5 steps. Encouraging participation, buy-in, conducting regular audits, and identifying root causes of issues are mechanisms for fostering ongoing commitment to organizational efficiency.
Tools & Templates
Tools used in the 5 S Lean System can include excel spreadsheets, assessments, training videos, protocols, schedules, questionnaires, work logs, and audit results.
upBOARD's Online 5 S System Tools & Templates
upBOARD’s online 5 S Lean System collaboration tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other operations best practice tools and templates, including:
5 S System, Brainstorming, Business Process Re-engineering, Gemba Walk, House of Lean, House of Quality, Huddle Boards, Just in Time (JIT), Kaizen, Kanban Boards, Key Performance Indicators, Leading and Lagging Indicators, Lean Manufacturing, Objectives & Key Results, Operational Performance Management, Outsourcing Decision-Matrix, Performance-Based Budgeting, QDIP Board, RATER Model, Six Sigma, SQDC Board, SQDCM Board, Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), Theory of Constraints (TOC), Total Quality Management (TQM), Value Stream Mapping, and Zero Defects.