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The Origin of the 5S Approach

{mosimage}“5S” is an acronym based on five Japanese words that individually indicate an active step involving an improvement approach for efficiency in daily work activities.

  • Seiso: CLEANING
  • Seiketsu: ORDER
  • Shitsuke: SUSTAIN

This is the easiest step toward progress and it is also the step that must be considered as primary in all activities because it provides the foundation for all lean-manufacturing implementation projects.

The characteristics of 5S make it possible to connect with all individuals while recognizing their responsibilities. These characteristics can also be applied to each company team in terms of management and ways to improve better ways for efficiency concerning the work activities of each team’s sector.

All companies that have achieved a “world class” level have applied and continue to apply the 5S standards.

Affiliation with the Japanese culture is not required in order to understand and apply the 5S standards.

Practical 5S Objectives


Separating the useful from the useless: ELIMINATION
Sorting out and keeping only what is necessary for the environment through:

  • The elimination of the useless items
  • The selection of the items required for efficiency in the workplace

Objective: the implementation of useful tools for creating an effective work environment without bothersome and useless influences


Organizing items based on their use: Organization
Putting things in their proper place by:

  • Selecting the best place for each object
  • Selecting a method for the organization and identification of each object

Objective: Eliminating the need to look for objects


Eliminating the sources of dirt and smudges: CLEANING
Efficient elimination of dirt by:

  • Identifying the sources of dirt and smudges at the time of each cleaning procedure
  • Implementing measures to eliminate the sources of dirt and smudges and ensure cleanliness with minimal effort

Objective: To keep things clean

Seiketsu: ORDER

Visually standardize better practices: STANDARDIZE
To implement effective organization by:

  • Identifying better practices
  • Simple procedures for these practices (visual assistance)
  • Communication and training for use

Objective: To observe proper practices

Shitsuke: SUSTAIN

To systematize compliance with better practices: OBSERVANCE
Ensuring compliance with established standards by:

  • Acquiring new habits
  • Options for continued self-determination regarding compliance with established rules
  • Information and processing of noted problems

Objective: To use the best practices and continuously improve them

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