Manish Khandelwal

5S is a step by step methodology to have an orderly, organized and pleasant workplace for efficient and consistent production of good quality products.

November 2022: Five Japanese words, all starting from the letter S, were introduced by Toyota Motors Ltd in 1970. These include Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Set in Order), Seiso (Shine), Seiketsu (Standardize), and Shitsuke (Sustain). 5S is a step by step methodology to have an orderly, organized and pleasant workplace for efficient and consistent productionof good quality products. This helps organizations to be competitive withtheir products and/or services.

Meaning and Implementation of 5S

1S –Seiri (Sort)
Step 1

1) Visit the target area.
2) Identify and put red tags on unneeded items.

Step 2

Remove unrequireditems.


Organized Space.

2S - Seiton (Set in Order)
Step 1

Decide most appropriate position for each item keeping in mind its usage.

Step 2

Place the items at identified locations.


1) Lesser searching time.
2) Efficient operation.
3) Easy to identify missing item

3S – Seiso (Shine)
Step 1

Detect areas of source of spreading dirt/dust/foreign/unwanted material.

Step 2

Fix,schedule and decide how and with what cleaning is to be done.


1) Better work environment.
2) Reduce chances of accidents.
3) Reduce chances of defects.

4S – Seiketsu (Standardize)
Step 1

Create clear documents for standard working like 5s audit sheet.

Step 2

1) Do regular audits as per 5S audit sheet and SOPs.
2) Ensure standardization.


1) Find areas of improvements regularly and keep improving.
2) Working as per standard shall make work efficient.

5S Shitsuke (Sustain)
Step 1

Create check-sheets.

Step 2

1) Keep training the employees.
2)Analyse the data from check sheets and ensure that improvements are sustained.


Situation keeps improving.

5S Committee: A 5S Committee is formed for conducting the 5S audit based on a suitable audit check sheet at a desired interval. A clear action plan is made to plug the gaps found during audits. Continuous training for workers coupled with close monitoring helps in the implementation and maintenanceof 5S.

Examples from daily life: People need to be given practical examples to make them understand each ‘S’. Giving examples of 5S in one’s daily life makes things easier to understand. For example, old, non-usable clothes should not be kept in the wardrobe (1S). Make place for your vehicle’s keys to save time in searching (2S). Clean your TV daily to see the picture clearly and avoid damage to TV due to dust(3S).

On Shopfloor
Review of before and after conditions will show significant improvement controlling defects, housekeeping and overall productivity. Capturing frequent photos of the shopfloor and discussions on the non-conformity helps in addressing the problems effectively.Any resistance to change can be effectively countered with training and strong communication. Other than improving health and safety standards, environmental performance and housekeeping, the 5S has been recognized as an extremely effective technique that also helps in improving quality, space, as well as human and machine utilization.Today, many organizations have added another S -- Safety -- to make it 6S now as safety is a key component of work practices.

The author is an industrial expert, who headed the 5S activities for nine units of Sheela Foam Ltd using innovative ideas.