Production & Manufacturing

5S: Sort Set in Order Shine Standardize Sustain

5S is a system for organizing spaces so that work can be done efficiently, effectively and safely. This system focuses on putting everything in its place and keeping the workplace clean, making it easier for people to do their jobs without wasting time or risking injury.

It refers to five words in the Japanese language that summarize important rules for applying quality, whether in laboratories or stores


They are activities to improve work to ensure the production of high-quality products, improve performance effectiveness, and prevent waste. They are derived from five Japanese words that have been translated into English and Arabic and can be called the Five Ta’a (5 T).

1-Seiri filtering: separating the essential from the non-essential, getting rid of the non-essential, and putting the essential within reach or close to the place of use.
2-Seiton organization or arrangement: arranging the place and work requirements (ease of extraction – ease of use – ease of return to the same place)
3-Seiso Cleaning: Cleaning the work place and supplies.
4- Seiketsu Standardization: Unifying work methods and developing a method for evaluation (preserving and maintaining all of the above).
5- Shitsuhe Training and Discipline: Disciplining workers at work by following rules and instructions and making that a habit in human behaviour.

Phases of 5S
There are 5 primary phases of 5S: sorting, straightening, systematic cleaning, standardizing, and sustaining. Additionally, there is an additional phase, safety, that is sometimes included.

Sorting (Seiri) Eliminate all unnecessary tools, parts, instructions. Go through all tools, materials, etc., in the plant and work area. Keep only essential items. Everything else is stored or discarded.

Straightening or Setting in Order / stability (Seiton)
There should be a place for everything and everything should be in its place. The place for each item should be clearly labeled or demarcated. Items should be arranged in a manner that promotes efficient work flow. Workers should not have to repetitively bend to access materials. Each tool, part, supply, piece of equipment, etc. should be kept close to where it will be used (i.e. straighten the flow path). Seiton is one of the features that distinguishes the 5S from “standardized cleanup”. This phase can also be referred to as Simplifying[1].

Sweeping or Shining or Cleanliness / Systematic Cleaning (Seiso)
Keep the workplace tidy and organized. At the end of each shift, clean the work area and make sure everything is restored to its place. This makes it easy to know what goes where and ensures that everything is where it belongs. A key point is that maintaining cleanliness should be part of the daily work – not an occasional activity initiated when things get too messy.

Standardizing (Seiketsu)
Work practices should be consistent and standardized. Everyone should know exactly what his or her responsibilities are for adhering to the first 3 S’s.

Sustaining the discipline Or Self Descipline (Shitsuke)
Maintain and review standards. Once the previous 4 S’s have been established, they become the new way to operate. Maintain focus on this new way and do not allow a gradual decline back to the old ways. While thinking about the new way, also be thinking about yet better ways. When an issue arises such as a suggested improvement, a new way of working, a new tool or a new output requirement, review the first 4 S’s and make changes as appropriate.

Download a PowerPoint file explaining the 5T or 5S
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