What is 5s?

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The 5S system is a lean manufacturing tool it describes how the work can be performed efficiently, effectively, and safely.  There are five steps in the system, each starting with the letter “S”.

The principles of 5S originated from five Japanese words: (Seiri), (Seiton), (Seiso), (Seiketsu), (Shitsuke), which have been translated into English roughly as ‘Sort’, ‘Set in Order’, ‘Shine’, ‘Standardize’, and ‘Sustain’.5S was developed in Japan So that it is also known as the Japanese concept of “FIVE-S”.

The steps of 5s


This means segregation. Dirt, dust, rubbish, and all unwanted wastes or material should be collected and segregated first.


There should be an effective arrangement of safe disposal of segregated wastes. This also includes preventive ‘ arrangements such as local exhaust ventilation, dust collectors, vacuum cleaners, guards, covers, and devices to reduce noise, vibration, leakage, spillage, etc.


The main activity of good housekeeping is cleaning. It includes cleaning of floors, walls, ceiling, sanitary and welfare facilities, parts of plant and machinery, PPE and other equipment, tools, lighting fixtures, lamps, tubes, etc.


This suggests compliance with statutory provisions and national or international standards for safety, quality, cleanliness, and environment.


This indicates the duty of everybody to follow rules, regulations, instructions, notices, orders, appeals, etc for maintaining good housekeeping and safety.

Notices to spit in spittoons only, not to throw rubbish anywhere, not to smoke in flammable areas, not to run the machine at over speed, not to open guard or safety devices without authority, not to wastewater, power, oil, etc, to follow traffic and safety rules, to wear ear protection in high noise area and other PPE for specific work, to use proper tools and equipment, etc should be strictly followed as a discipline.

Motivation is required for self-discipline. For the maintenance of good housekeeping, discipline plays a vital role.

A Sixth “S” for Safety

Some industries are also including a sixth “s” in their 5s program. After including safety in the 5s program the system is often is called “6thS”.

Benefits of 5S

  • Improved safety of the working environment
  • Higher equipment availability
  • Lower defect rates
  • Reduced costs
  • Reduce injury rates
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved employee morale
  • Better asset utilization
  • Higher quality
  • Enhanced enterprise image to customers, suppliers, employees, and management.

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