5S Lean Production

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Russian: 5S Бережливого производства



5S is one of the effective tools of Lean Production (Lean Manufacturing). Like most lean production instruments this one could be represented as a system of related principles in practical application. 5S System is a systematic method of organizing, ordering and cleaning operating area, logical principles for managing any effective working place by corporate culture improving and reducing time for each operation. 5S System is commonly used as a first step towards a lean enterprise and the use of other instruments of the Toyota Company’s management [1]

The tools: short description

5S System was developed in the Toyota production system (TPS) and has received the name from the first letters of the five Japanese words and their English counterparts. These words represent five integrated principles that ensure visual control and make lean production possible[2]:

Table 1. 5S basic terms

English Japanese (Wader)
Sort seri
Set in Order seiton
Shine seisi
Standardize seiketsu
Sustain shitsuke

The five steps of 5S

5S System includes five steps that allow create working space, corresponding to the principles of lean manufacturing and visual management: sorting, keeping order, keeping it clean, standards development and continuous improvement.[3] [4]

1. Sort
involves sorting through the working zone content and removing all unnecessary items. Principle: leave at working place only the tools and materials necessary to perform daily activities. This principle allows keeping free space required for storage of materials that are no longer needed. Also this step could help workers to move free in the operating area. It is necessary for organizational culture improvement and safety.
2. Set in Order
involves arranging necessary tools and materials for easy and quick access. A rational allocation means that all the necessary items should be located and labeled such a way as to they can be easily used by any worker. This principle is focused on the definition "any worker". This principle eliminates waste in production and office activities and supports previous step - sort.
3. Shine
involves cleaning everything in the workplace and around it. Keep work area clean, and the equipment in working condition and be sure that all equipment is preventively maintained according to the instruction. It’s necessary to identify and remove all sources of pollution. This will reduce the time required to equipment repair and help to implement two previous instruments.
4. Standardize
involves maintaining with formal documents and instructions the established order, keeping operating area clean and organized. All aspects of the production activities should be the subjects of standardization and control. Standardization includes: making standards visual and obvious; visual control of the state of the process and process variability; unification of all entries and symbols used during the process; rational location of information boards. Standardization eliminates the time required to bring to staff instructions, which are necessary to use previous instruments.
5. Sustain
involves communication and standards development to ensure that everyone follows the 5S principles. Every employee, both workers and managers should improve and develop their working places and take pride for their job and working area. This stage can lead to higher productivity and to greater job satisfaction. Problems must be identified and eliminated as soon as they occur.

Benefits of use

5S System is a universal method used for efficient working place organization. It’s working effectively not only in industrial organizations, but as well in other areas of business, such as travel agencies, medical facilities, banks, insurance, investment and consulting companies; educational organizations, government agencies, etc. [5] Hard facts prove that in industrial / office areas where cleanliness is maintained can be achieved:

  • higher productivity;
  • fewer number of defects;
  • accurately maintained deadlines;
  • extra production premises,
  • strict observance safety instructions;
  • maintenance of a comfortable and productive working environment.


  1. Taiichi Ohno (1988). Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production (English translation ed.). Portland, Oregon: Productivity Press. pp. 75-76. ISBN 0-915299-14-3
  2. Micheal Wader. Lean Tools A Pocket Guide to Implementing Lean Practices ISBN 8185984123
  3. Hiroyuki Hirano (1996). 5S for Operators: 5 Pillars of the Visual Workplace ISBN-10: 1563271230
  4. James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones (2003). Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, Revised and Updated. ISBN-10: 0743249275
  5. Thomas Fabrizio,Don Tapping (2006). 5S for the Office: Organizing the Workplace to Eliminate Waste. ISBN-10: 1563273187

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