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May 13, 2024

How to transform your workplace using 5S principles

5S - Transform Your Workplace in 5 Steps - E-Learning

The 5S methodology is a systematic approach to workplace organization invented in Japan and designed to save businesses huge amounts of time and money by increasing and sustaining high levels of efficiency in multiple areas.

It consists of five steps known as Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Set in order), Seiso (Shine), Seiketsu (Standardize), and Shitsuke (Sustain).

This method not only helps in maintaining the physical order and cleanliness of the workplace but also enhances efficiency, safety, and productivity.

Here’s how to transform your workplace using the 5S principles, plus some action tips to get you started…



1. Seiri (Sort)


Remove unnecessary items and dispose of them properly; eliminating all superfluous paperwork, clutter, furniture, equipment and paraphernalia which isn’t absolutely necessary to the day-to-day running of the workplace.


• Walk through the workspace and identify all the furniture, materials, and equipment.
• Determine which items are necessary and which are not by asking questions like “Is this item frequently used?” “Does this item belong here?”
• Dispose of, donate, or store items that are not needed for daily operations.
• Create a tagging system (red tags) for items whose necessity is unclear and revisit them after a set period.


2. Seiton (Set in order)


Arrange essential items so that they are easily accessible and can be stored neatly. Use practical and appropriate storage places depending upon frequency of use, and purpose.


• Designate specific places for all office items and equipment. Use visual aids like labels, floor markings, and colour codes.
• Arrange items in a manner that streamlines work processes by placing items used together in proximity.
• Implement ergonomic storage solutions that ensure items are easy to retrieve and return.
• Ensure every item has a “home” and that it’s marked clearly.


3. Seiso (Shine)


Clean the workplace and equipment regularly to maintain standards and functionality. This includes ensuring everything is put back where it belongs once it has been used and cleaned. Remember, the main point of the 5S methodology is to encourage a culture of continuous improvement so everyone needs to be on board with each aspect and it is important to lead from the top.


• Initiate regular cleaning schedules involving all employees if a specific cleaner isn’t employed.
• Focus on preventive maintenance of machines, technology and equipment to avoid breakdowns and defects.
• Use cleaning as an opportunity to inspect for defects, wear and tear, and safety hazards.
• Keep a checklist for daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning tasks.
• Ensure clear guidance is available for all employees regarding expectations.


4. Seiketsu (Standardize)


Standardize the best practices in the work area to ensure consistency and encourage those in leadership roles to set the bar for others to follow. A workplace which offers an orderly, easy-to-follow system for projects, cleanliness and office efficiency is more likely to be productive and successful in other areas.


• Develop and implement clear, simple work procedures and standards for sorting, organizing, and cleaning.
• Use visual management tools such as signs, colour codes, floor markings and labels to remind staff of standards and processes.
• Train all employees on 5S procedures and the importance of each step.
• Regularly review and update the standards based on feedback and challenges.


5. Shitsuke (Sustain)


Sustain the gains achieved through the first four S’s by turning the procedures into habits. Regularly ask for feedback from all levels of employees, and implement changes as needed.


• Conduct regular audits of the 5S implementation and track performance with before and after photos and efficiency metrics.
• Include 5S responsibilities and standards in job descriptions and performance reviews.
• Celebrate achievements and improvements in 5S to encourage ongoing participation and buy-in.
• Provide ongoing training and support, and encourage employees to suggest improvements.



Implementing 5S

It might be useful to start with a pilot area to introduce and refine your 5S implementation before rolling it out across the entire organization.

Gather feedback from employees involved in the pilot and adjust your approach based on what works best in your specific environment.

Leadership support is crucial, so ensure that management are fully trained in 5S methodologies and that they demonstrate commitment to the 5S principles and actively participate in the process.

This will help in creating a culture where continuous improvement in organization, efficiency, and cleanliness becomes a shared goal across the company.

5S training will help to ensure your workforce are fully equipped with the knowledge they need to make this transition, and helps to reinforce the principles at every level of the company.

Book places on our 5S course here, or contact us now for more information.