5S method: definition, explanation and examples! [2022] • Asanas (2023)


The 5S method helps to design the workplace in such a way that you can concentrate on the important activities. The 5 steps here are sorting, systematizing, keeping clean, standardizing and practicing self-discipline. Learn more about the five steps and the benefits of this method in this article.

If we are honest: our workplace is not always set up as it should be. Important papers and documents are hidden somewhere, the charging cable cannot be found, etc. This situation certainly occurs to everyone, regardless of whether you work in the office or in theHome-Officehat.

To counteract this, you can use the 5S method. With this method, you can design your workplace in such a way that you can always concentrate on the essential activities and no longer have to waste time.

In this article you will learn everything you need to know about the 5S method. We will show you where the method comes from, what is behind it and what advantages it offers you. So let's not waste any time and start right away.

What is the 5S method?

Let's start by defining the5S Method. This method is used to make the workplace or work environment efficient. After all, this should be a place where you can do your work optimally and without hindrances. Waste of resources or the like should be avoided.

The 5S method helps clear the space of all superfluous items. In addition, a separate space is created for each item that is on your workspace. So you always know where to find your important items.

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Where does the 5S method come from?

The origin of the 5S method can be found in production. The process was developed here by the Japanese Taiichi Ono, who significantly shaped Toyota's processes at the time.

Even then, the 5S method was known as KaizenLean Managementin the production area and in theproductioncelebrated and applied more and more. After all, the process continues to standardize the workplace and thus also the activities and thus optimize the process. In recent years, however, the method has also been increasingly used in other areas, simply because the principle is very easy to understand and easy to apply.

How does the 5S method work?

The 5S method owes its name to the five different steps, all of which begin with an “S”. The original five Japanese terms were:

  • Seiri

  • Seiton

  • Stand up

  • Seiketsu

  • Shitsuke

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Over time, these terms were also translated into English and German. In the following paragraphs we explain more about the individual steps and how you can implement the 5S method:

1. Sort (Seiri)

The first step is to analyze the workplace and the objects that are on the workplace in more detail. You should sort objects according to whether they are needed or whether they are superfluous.

In this step, you can immediately sort out the unnecessary items that you never need from the workplace. For the other items, you can decide whether you need them all the time or only occasionally. It would be helpful for the further process if you can label the items accordingly.

2. Systematize (Seiton)

The next step is to systematize the arrangement of objects in the workplace. All objects should have a fixed place. Pay attention to a sensible and effective arrangement of the objects. Important criteria here are ergonomics and frequency of use. For some processes there is also a sequence that you can and should also take into account.

It is important after this step that all items have their own place, they are easily accessible and everything is well organized. Ideally, you should now take a photo of your workplace so that you always know how it should be arranged. If deviations from the target state occur, this is now more easily visible and you can arrange the workplace accordingly.

3. Cleanse (Seiso)

With the first two steps of the 5S method, the preparatory work has now been done. Congratulations, you now have an orderly workplace. But the work is not done yet. The next step is cleanliness.

Therefore, make sure that your workplace is clean and hygienic. Causes of waste generation should be removed as much as possible. This is not only important when visitors come. You will also certainly feel more comfortable in a workplace that is clean.

In addition to cleaning, inspection is also important. You should regularly check whether the workplace is still properly organized, whether there are any discrepancies or any deficiencies that you still need to fix.

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4. Standardize (Seiketsu)

In this step, you definitely notice that the 5S method comes from the production area. Because this is about the fact that the entire work area should ideally be standardized. This keeps the familiarization period as simple as possible when changing jobs. This standardization can be done in many ways, such as 5S checklists, limitations, the exact arrangement of work equipment in the right order, etc.

Of course, this step is not possible for every activity. However, there are certain routine activities that have to be carried out in almost every job. And it is precisely for these activities that it is advisable to standardize them and write them down in an easily understandable way.

Another 5S method example would be software programs. When each area of ​​the company uses different software, it is more difficult to communicate between areas. In addition, when changing jobs, employees often find it difficult to get used to new software quickly. Therefore, rely on uniform tools for the entire company, such as Asana as work management software.

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5. Self-Discipline (Shitsuke)

So much for the first 4 steps of the 5S method. The last step, self-discipline, should not be overlooked at the end. Because it is important that you do everything you can to ensure that your workplace remains tidy and clear.

If you don't do this, everything will quickly fall back to the way it was before. Now you have a cluttered workplace again and you have to start clearing away everything you don't need and tidying up the space. So ensure self-discipline, both for yourself and for the other employees. Effective team spirit ensures that every workplace in your team stays tidy. So you can all be productive efficiently and without delays or hindrances.

The pros and cons of the 5S method

Now let's move on to the pros and cons that come with the 5S method. Because there are also some situations in which this method cannot or should not be used.


  • Simple system:The method is basically easy to understand. Put away unnecessary things, sort the remaining items, keep the workplace clean and standardize processes. This system is easy to implement.

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  • Time saving:Because you always know where your work items are and you don't have to search for a long time, the search times are significantly reduced. You can use this time to concentrate better on the actual work.

  • Employee awareness:Through the 5S method, employees get a better sense of why clutter is bad and which habits in the workplace cause inefficiency. This helps to positively shape the thinking of employees in the long term.

  • Promotion of routine:In many areas it is important that routine work is carried out efficiently and with little delay. The 5S method achieves this by standardizing the processes and recording them via 5S audits or checklists.


  • Standardization not always possible:Not all steps can be transferred to all areas. Because often there are simply no work processes that can really be standardized. It is often counterproductive when processes are overly formalized.

  • More reactive than proactive:The first step of the 5S method states that the unnecessary items should be removed. This method is therefore used more reactively when the disorder gets out of hand.

Conclusion on the 5S method

The 5S method as a workplace organization method definitely has its advantages. You will learn why it is important to keep your workspace tidy and clean. Of course, the 5S method cannot be used 100% in every area, since the method comes from the production area, where mainly routine tasks are to be carried out.

However, the essence of the 5S method is important for almost every area. Your workplace is important because that's where you do your daily work. If this is untidy and confusing, you are wasting time. You can simply concentrate less on the important tasks. So keep it tidy because it's really helpful.


What is 5S method and briefly explain elements of 5S? ›

The 5S pillars, Sort (Seiri), Set in Order (Seiton), Shine (Seiso), Standardize (Seiketsu), and Sustain (Shitsuke), provide a methodology for organizing, cleaning, developing, and sustaining a productive work environment.

What is the definition of all 5S technique? ›

5S stands for the 5 steps of this methodology: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain. These steps involve going through everything in a space, deciding what's necessary and what isn't, putting things in order, cleaning, and setting up procedures for performing these tasks on a regular basis.

What is the 5S formula to create a conducive learning environment? ›

The 5S comprises five phases: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. The 5S implementation creates conducive environment in educational sectors that result in effective usage of time and storage space.

What is the example of set in order in 5S? ›

Set in Order: Organize and arrange the appropriate items so that they are easy to access, use and return to their proper place. Shine: Keep the work area clean for safety, maintenance and inspection. Standardize: Apply the first three steps to achieve a standardized work area.

How do I implement 5S in my organization? ›

Remove any unneeded items, put things away, and make sure the right people are performing the right jobs. Set in Order - Arrange things so that they are located where they need to be used. Reducing or eliminating the need for employees to walk to another area to get a tool will help prevent wasted time and effort.

What is the purpose of the 5S system in the workplace? ›

5S is designed to decrease waste while optimizing productivity through maintaining an orderly workplace and using visual cues to attain more consistent operational results. 5S refers to five steps – sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain (also known as the 5 pillars of a visual workplace).

What are the objectives of 5S? ›

Firstly, 5S helps to make everything in discipline form. Secondly, 5S improves organizational efficiency. Thirdly, It improves safety. Then, 5S reduces waste in all forms.

Where can 5S be used? ›

A 5S can be applied to any work environment. It could be a supply/store in a hospital, a repair truck for a telecom company, a CSR desk/work area in a call center, the baggage claim area of an airline or a laptop computer.

How does 5S improve safety? ›

5S involves the removal of unnecessary items in the workspace, thus improving productivity with minimal waste of time. The method promotes a clean working environment to reduce or totally eliminate work-related injuries. It helps ensure workplace safety.

What is an example of a conducive environment? ›

For example, a quiet corner for students to study, a discussion area for students to have discussions, a fun corner where students can play games, etc. This enables both the students and teachers to better utilise the classroom to facilitate the learning and teaching process.

What are the five key elements of the learning environment? ›

This document identifies and articulates the characteristics of five Key Elements that are fundamental to achieving high-quality experiences and strong outcomes for preschool children: the learning environment, daily routine, adult-child relationships, teaching practices, and family engagement.

How do you create a conducive environment? ›

Creating a conducive learning environment
  1. Get to know the students by name as quickly as possible.
  2. Get to know some personal things about each student.
  3. Conduct a values analysis discussion about some current event or topic.
  4. Provide positive comments when appropriate.
  5. Be positive and enthusiastic when teaching.

What is a simple example of set? ›

Sets, in mathematics, are an organized collection of objects and can be represented in set-builder form or roster form. Usually, sets are represented in curly braces {}, for example, A = {1,2,3,4} is a set.

What is set and explain its types with examples? ›

Different types of sets are classified according to the number of elements they have. Basically, sets are the collection of distinct elements of the same type. For example, a basket of apples, a tea set, a set of real numbers, natural numbers, etc.

How to do a 5S project? ›

How do you implement a 5S program?
  1. Get familiar with lean philosophy before starting a 5S program. ...
  2. Introduce the 5S program and train employees. ...
  3. Conduct 5S audits with unique KPIs to ensure continuous improvement. ...
  4. Straighten: Everything has a place, and everything in its place. ...
  5. A 5S program eliminates waste.

How do you calculate 5S? ›

To find the total 5S audit score, simply divide sum of the audit by 5, the number of “S” standards being evaluated. For example, if you scored each “S” a 3 (perfect score), the total score of the audit will be 3 ((3+3+3+3+3) / 5).

What is the most important step in 5S and why? ›

Sustain. This step in the 5S Process can sometimes become the most challenging of all the five steps. Sustaining is the continuation of the Sort, Straighten, Shine and Standardize steps. It is the most important step in that it addresses the need to perform 5S on a consistent and systematic basis.

What benefit can 5S give to us and our workplace? ›

The benefits of 5S are numerous. A well-implemented 5S program can lead to reduced lead times, increased productivity, improved safety, and decreased costs. In addition, 5S can help create a culture of continuous improvement by engaging employees in identifying and addressing problems.

How do you explain 5S to employees? ›

5S is a five-step methodology for creating a more organized and productive workspace: Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. 5S serves as a foundation for deploying more advanced lean production tools and processes. What Is the 5S Methodology?

What is the keys to 5S success? ›

There are three keys to successfully sustaining 5S: commitment, top management support, and performance measurement.

How do you motivate people to practice 5S? ›

How to implement this step?
  1. First, establish proper workplace communication among everyone working there.
  2. Second, make them aware of the 5S principles and their importance.
  3. Third, present the positive effects achieved so far to motivate and cheer them up.
Apr 27, 2023

What is the most important of the 5S in workplace organization? ›

Visual Management Controls

One of the most important aspects of the 5S system is improving visibility of existing problems so that they can be addressed and eliminated. In a disorganized workspace, excess inventory and work-in-progress cannot be easily distinguished.

What are the most important benefits of 5S? ›

Improvement in Safety: 5S helps in crating a safe workplace by reducing accidents caused by Slippery floors, eliminating oil leaks and creating visual indicators. Improves Machine Uptime: By following daily cleaning and fixing the abnormalities, the breakdowns of the machines would significantly reduce.

What are the outcomes of 5S training? ›

Personal Benefits
  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of the 5S continuous improvement system.
  • Increased experience and knowledge about a universally accepted data management and workplace organisation concept, thus increasing one's avenues and opportunities for career progression in any organisation or industry.

Who is responsible for 5S? ›

Typically, employees are responsible for sorting, straightening, and cleaning, while managers are in charge of developing best practices that will make 5S a part of daily work routines.

How is 5S applied? ›

Each action of the 5S methodology is implemented in this phase (Seiri: Sort; Seiton: Set in order; Seiso: Shine; Seiketsu: Standardise; Shitsuke: Sustain). The implementation is carried out for the pilot area and then for each of the areas of the deployment phase, with a preliminary preparation phase.

Why is it important to learn the 5S? ›

The key benefits of 5S are:

Less Waste (Improved Efficiency) Reduced Space Used For Storage. Improved Maintenance. Improved Safety.

What is the conclusion of 5S concept? ›

The results show that 5S is an effective tool for improvement of organizational performance, regardless of organization type, size, its production or its service. Consequently, 5S technique would strongly support the objectives of organization to achieve continuous improvement in performance and productivity.

Why does 5S fail sometimes? ›

Lack of Direction. In order to be maintained over the long-term, 5S requires real direction. Those involved in the system will undoubtedly come up with many different ways that it can benefit the company. Attempting to implement them all as soon as they are discovered will be very disorganized and ineffective.

What are 5 examples of environments? ›

Some examples of natural environments include rivers, mountains, forests and beaches. Features of these environments are also developed naturally, such as soil, vegetation and rocks. Naturally occurring eco-systems also fall into this category, and can be further classified as being either terrestrial or aquatic.

How can we improve our learning environment? ›

13 Ways to create a positive learning environment in your...
  1. Build positive relationships with students and parents. ...
  2. Foster student connections. ...
  3. Outline classroom rules for positive behavior. ...
  4. Use positive reinforcement. ...
  5. Ensure content is culturally relevant. ...
  6. Keep a positive mindset.
Mar 11, 2022

What is an effective teaching? ›

Effective teaching is the knowledge, strategies, processes and behaviours which lead to good student outcomes. Effective teachers have a positive impact on their students and use their expertise to improve learning. These good outcomes are often those that can be measured easily, usually through summative assessment.

What are the 5 C's education model? ›

The Five C's include critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and citizenship skills. Through application of these concepts across academic disciplines, students will be equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed post-graduation.

What are the 3 learning environments? ›

These three areas are the physical, psychological, and instructional settings. Teachers are responsible for maintaining these three environments, as they impact students in different ways.

What is learning environment checklist? ›

The Learning Environment Checklist (LEC) is a tool to systematically analyze the educational environment in which student behavior occurs. This checklist has been designed to address all relevant areas of the classroom setting.

What is effective learning environment? ›

However, overall elements such as minimal distractions, a clear routine, a positive atmosphere and varied approaches and formats of teaching are all elements that have been proven to improve performance and facilitate effective learning.

What are the 5S in your daily life? ›

5S is a "lean workplace" organization method that follows five Japanese steps: seiri (整理) “to sort,” seiton (整頓) “to set in order,” seisō (清掃) “to shine,” seiketsu (清潔) “to standardize,” and shitsuke (躾) “to sustain.” This "lean" methodology helps companies organize for better efficiency and effectiveness and can be ...

What is the most important 5S? ›

Standardize. The fourth step has been called the most important step in the 5S Process. In this step we must develop the standards for the 5S system. They will be the standards by which the previous 5S steps are measured and maintained.

What is the meaning of 5S housekeeping? ›

5S or good housekeeping involves the principle of waste elimination through workplace organization. 5S was derived from the Japanese words seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. In English, they can be roughly translated as sort, set in order, clean, standardize, and sustain.

How do you apply the 5S in doing your work? ›

These steps are:
  1. Sort: Separate those things needed for the job from those that are not needed. ...
  2. Set In Order: For the things needed to do the job, put them in a logical order or logical placement to enhance the work process and reduce the chance of defects. ...
  3. Shine: ...
  4. Standardize: ...
  5. Systematize:

What is the importance of 5S in our daily home routine Why? ›

The key benefits of 5S include:

Less Waste (Improved Efficiency) Reduced Space Used For Storage. Improved Maintenance. Improved Safety.

Where can we apply these 5S? ›

The following are some of the industries that are starting to implement 5S on a regular basis, and how it can be beneficial.
  • Health Care. ...
  • Office Jobs. ...
  • Information Technology. ...
  • Restaurants. ...
  • Homemakers.

What are real life examples of sets? ›

Ans. Returning to real-life examples of sets, we can observe that in the kitchen, utensils are organised in such a way that plates are kept separate from spoons. Another example is that when we go to mobile showrooms, we see that sophisticated phones like Galaxy duos, Lumia, and so on are segregated from plain mobiles.

What are 2 examples of sets? ›

Finite Set: It has a limited number of elements.Example: A = {1,2,3,4} Infinite Set: It has an infinite number of elements.Example: A = {x: x is the set of all whole numbers} Equal Set: Two sets which have the same members.Example: A = {1,2,5} and B={2,5,1}: Set A = Set B.

Which one of the best describes 5S? ›

5S is defined as a methodology that results in a workplace that is clean, uncluttered, safe, and well organized to help reduce waste and optimize productivity. It's designed to help build a quality work environment, both physically and mentally.

How 5S can improve productivity? ›

The 5S System is an effective, methodical process for reducing waste and making your workplace more efficient and organized. There are five steps: Sort, Set in Order, Shiny Clean (or Systematic Cleaning), Standardized Cleanup, and Sustain. It's important to move through the system in sequence.

What is a simple example of 5S in workplace? ›

An excellent example of Shine in the 5S process again resides within a mechanic's garage. Performing duties with Shine in mind could include making sure all equipment is properly lubricated. This is on top of wiping down workstations, ensuring tools are kept clean, and sweeping up any messes right away.


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