Steps to implement 5S

BY KIA - 2017-09-29

Many organization think & take 5S as a house-keeping program which is done only by people on the shop-floor. But the fact is 5S is beyond house-keeping and we had written about the same in past.

Five S is the starting point of any improvement journey. It is the foundation on which the journey starts. Five S is a systematic way to improve workplace organization and functioning by establishing the basic conditions that are essential for improvements.  Its difficult to make improvements or approach world-class levels of operations with work areas that are poorly organized, unclean, unsafe, and not standardized.  Apart from this, Five S is often a good way to familiarize people with continuous improvement by involving and engaging them to improve workplace conditions and organization.

Five S is the Japanese methodology for minimizing errors and mistake proofing: Five S's are seiri (sort), seiton (set in order), seiso (shine), seiketsu (standardization), and shitsuke (sustain). This methodology was originated from Henry Ford's CAN DO (Cleaning, Arranging, Neatness, Discipline, Ongoing improvement) program.

Below given are the steps that one can follow while implementing Five S.


1. Identify the target area

2. Define criteria for red-tagging

3. Create the red-tag

4. Conduct the red-tag session

5. Identify red-tag items and tag it

6. Move the items tagged to red tag area

7. Take approval for dispose and dispose


1. Decide "What to store"

2. Decide "How much to store"

3. Decide "Where to store" (by carrying out frequency analysis

4. Decide "How to store"


1. Decide "What to clean"

2. Decide "Responsibility:

3. Decide "How to clean & check"

4. Implement "Cleaning & checking"

5. Implement "Cleaning & maintenance"


1. Establish a routine (frequency can be decided) check

2. Establish a multi-level audit system where each level in the organization has a role to play (engage everyone) in ensuring that 5S is sustained in the work areas and that the 5S system evolves and strengthens further. Perculate it to the down level.

3. Develop/ create standard methods across similar work areas.

4. Document any new standard methods for doing the work so that no one wastes time in reinventing the same wheel.


1. Determine the 5S level of achievement - the overall grade.

2. Perform worker-led routine 5S checks using the 5S check list.

3. Flag & address abnormalities and new opportunities found during routine checks.

4. Conduct scheduled (daily, frequency can be decided), routine checks by team leads or supervisors or by people from outside of the workgroup.

5. Perform higher-level audits to evaluate how well the 5S system is working overall. 

Few Techniques to Sustain 5S

- Genchi Genbutsu  (Go see yourself)

- 5 to 10 minutes daily cleaning

- Link 5S with SQDC

- Audits by team members

- Visual displays of 5S status

- 5S competitions

How to Implement 5S

The 5S methodology is typically implemented using a 5-step process,

1.    Establishing a 5S committee(including employees that work in the associated areas),

2.    Visiting all areas associated with manufacturing process under review,

3.    Brainstorming & planning on ways to improve organization to reduce waste

4.    Provide 5S training to create awareness

5.    Launch & implement

6.    Audit & sustain

Benefits to the company from using the 5S methodology include improving quality, lowering costs, promoting safety, building customer confidence, increasing factory up-time or reducing TAT/ TPT, lowering repair costs, etc.

Gemba Kaizen