What Is 5S?

You may of heard 5S being used about your office or factory floor, it may be because you have an untidy desk or an inefficient process, but What is 5S?

5S is a Japanese methodology that uses a list of 5 japanese words that translate into words that all begin with S:

- Sort(seiri)
- Straighten (seiton)
- Shine (seiso)
- Standardise (seiketsu)
- Sustain (shitsuke)

Seiri = Sort

Nuts and Bolts

- Remove and discard of any unnecessary items in your working environment
- Make the task you are performing easier by eliminating obstacles
- Remove items from your vicinity that could cause distraction
- Don’t horde / collect unnecessary items
- Segregate or relocate unwanted materials / items that have inherent value

Seiton = Straighten or Streamline

Organised Spanners

- Arrange all necessary items so they are easily accessible and easily put back
- Make it easy to find items (e.g. labeled draws)
- Create a smooth workflow that isn’t complicated

Seiso = Shine or Sweep

Factory Sweep

- Start by completely cleaning your workplace
- Prevent any machinery and equipment from deteriorating
- Make sure machinery and equipment is cleaned fully where possible
- Keep your working environment safe and easy to work in and around

Seiketsu = Standardise

Organised desk

- Maintain a constant standard of cleanliness, housekeeping and organisation
- Make sure everything is where it should be and maintain that philosophy
- Clearly display where everything should belong and your workspace layout

Shitsuke = Sustain

Factory workers 

- Maintain the above rules constantly
- Perform necessary tasks without having to be asked
- Regularly monitor these standards and perform audits to show results

Where Did '5S' originate?

5S was a methodology developed in Japan by a manufacturing company ‘Just In Time’ it was then made famous by Toyota who adopted a 4S approach (they combined Seiton and Seiso) but have since reverted to the ‘Hirano 5S’ standard.

How Can I Improve My 5S?


Racking is a great way to store and organise items that might not have a place in your workplace. Racking is available in a variety of different sizes to suit workplaces of all sizes.

Parts and Storage Boxes

Storage boxes are essential to the housing of any components you are keeping if you want them to be easy to find, easy to access and clearly located. Part boxes can even be colour coded to category or size and come in a variety of different shapes and sizes.

Signs and Labels

Clearly distinguished areas, tools and storage are another huge change that can be easily implemented, saving people time when searching for items will help maximise efficiency. Signs and Labels will allow others who may not necessarily be used to your workplace adapt quickly and easily.


Thank you for reading our article about 5S methodology, we hope you and your business have found it useful and if you require any of the items mentioned in this article please search our site or contact us here.