5S is a workplace organisation methodology which uses five steps to achieve a sustainable, tidy workplace. The five stages of 5S begin with an ‘S’, based on the 5 steps – Sort, Shine, Set in Order, Standardise and Sustain.

1. Sort

Separate needed from unneeded items, eliminate what isn’t needed

2. Set in Order

Neatly arrange what is left after sorting – a place for everything, everything in its place

3. Shine

Clean, wash & inspect the work area

4. Standardise

Create a standard practice for the above, this results in cleanliness from regular performance of the first three S

5. Sustain

This is being disciplined to continuously perform the first four S


5S is usually one of the first steps in a Lean journey. Without it, a company will not have the discipline and structure needed to implement and sustain other Lean Tools, such as creating Pull Systems (Kanban), reduce Changeover (SMED), etc.

5S isn’t just a one-off tidy up activity. 5S is all about creating an environment which facilitates sustainable orderliness and cleanliness. By creating a visually identifiable location for every required item in a work area (anything that casts a shadow), abnormalities become immediately apparent to the eye.

A clean environment also provides immediate visual cues when there is a potential issue.

Why use the 5S Workplace Organisation technique?

  • Creates an environment which facilitates sustainable orderliness and cleanliness.
  • Identifies abnormalities as everything has an easily visible location
  • Increased efficiency
  • Opportunity to create a cleaner, and safer, environment
  • Opportunity to standardise the work area

For a detailed look at the benefits of the 5S Workplace Organisation technique and how it can be implemented in your business why not speak to a specialist today

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Our other lean techniques

There are several tools and techniques that form a key part of your Lean programme; there are hundreds, if not thousands, of great ideas within Lean to explore