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Lean Five-S's Methodology Deployment

Updated on January 22, 2014

The Five-S's

The Five-S's supports the continuous improvement mindset. Every organization should coach and teach every member of the organization to work under the continuous improvement mindset to be prosperous and profitable. This is the only way the organization can rise to the top of its market or competitors. The continuous improvement mindset is the foundation for Five-S.

  1. Sort/Simplify
  2. Set in order/Stabilize
  3. Shine/Scrub
  4. Standardize/Straighten
  5. Sustain

Why Implement Five-S?

A successful implementation of the Five-S methodology will result in the following improvements and successes:

  • Reduction of search times, which will improve productivity.
  • Reduction of inventory and space used, which will improve cost.
  • Reduction of defects, which will improve quality and reduce waste.
  • Reduction of delays, which will improve on time delivery to both internal and external customers.
  • Reduction of downtime, which will bring greater reliability through better maintenance.
  • Reduction of changeover/setup times, which improves utilization of equipment.
  • Reduction in safety issues, which is number one to any organization.


The Five-S Methodology

The Philosophy


  • Seiri / Sort – Remove all items that are not needed, and only keep what is needed.
  • Seiton / Straighten – Every item that stays must have shadow box and label for exact location.
  • Seiso / Shine – Scrub the entire area, paint where needed, and make it shine.
  • Seiketsu / Standardize – Build Standards or set of rules to keep what was put in place for the first Three-S's.
  • Shitsuke / Sustain – Audit and continually improve on the first Four-S's.

The Five-S's support all Lean practices and tool sets. The Five-S implementation is the start for all future Lean initiative implementations in any organization. It is a way to introduce Lean to team members without being to forceful with the change you want to implement throughout the organization. Team members need to be involved with the change in order for it to work and be sustained. It is the foundation for continuous improvement in the future. Make it fun and exciting for the team members, and it will be a success with their involvement, or in reality, it will only succeed with their involvement. The strength of the Lean Implementation will rely on their involvement with the simple task of implementing Five-S through every cell and work area throughout your organization.

Five-S Survey

How many of you today, in your current organization, use the Five-S Methodology?

See results

Five-S Important Points to Consider

Often people or organizations forget these important points:

  • Five-S is not just cleaning or organizing an area of an organization or a space in your house.
  • Five-S is a habit that needs to be developed to Maintain, Improve, and Sustain work or home environments.
  • To be successful in your Lean endeavors, you must believe and be successful in your Five-S implementation.


Implementation of Five-S

  1. Perform an initial audit of the area to highlight where you are before you start implementing the Five-S methodology.
  2. Take pictures of the area in its current state to document what it was before you implement.
  3. Establish a list of actions that need to take place to implement.
  4. Establish a Kaizen Five-S team to implement the action.
  5. Create a Non-Conforming area for items not needed.
  6. Implement the first Four-S's using the Kaizen team and the list of actions to Sort, Set, Scrub, and Standardize the area.
  7. Once the first Four-S's are completed, perform a second audit of the area.
  8. Take a second round of pictures of the area to document your progress and achievements.
  9. Sustain the area by posting rules and pictures of the area, and create an action list to help maintain the area daily, and set a weekly schedule for the area to be audited by the individuals in the work area. Sustaining is the hardest part of the Five-S's.
  10. Be proud and celebrate your successes with your team, and show off your achievements to other work areas surrounding the improved area.
  11. Go on to the next area in need of the improvement, but make sure to use a new team that works in that area.
  12. Most important!!! Have Fun and spread the knowledge.


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    • profile image

      Boo Boo Team 

      5 years ago

      Will you be writing more in the future? Can you write one on Gemba management? I really like your style of writing. Thanks

    • DestinySuccess profile image


      5 years ago from Folsom, California

      Great article, very useful!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This really breaks down 5S methodology. Recently I have been using this around my house, so I can take this habit to work. It's like going against the flow because people are so use to not keeping thing up. I think 5S methodology needs to be taught more, so people can learn the most critical part, sustainability.

    • Lean Dream profile imageAUTHOR

      Daniel J. Carr 

      5 years ago from Sacramento, CA

      Let me know what your experiences and successes are in implementing the Five-S Methodology. How can I help?


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