What is 5S?

5S is a Japanese quality management philosophy and workplace organization methodology which gained popularity after being implemented by Toyota. The 5 phases intended to be implemented in sequence are:

  1. Seiri (Sort) - Eliminate waste and unnecessary resources (tools, equipment, supplies, etc.), determine which resources are needed and not needed, prevent reintroduction of items removed/sorted.
  2. Seiton (Set in Order) - Arrange resources so they are organized and easy to find. Clearly identify and physically label locations for resources.
  3. Seiso (Shine) - Keep the workplace clean and tidy.  Keep resources well-maintained.
  4. Seiketsu (Standardize) - Set and use standards for processes.  Keep resources standardized.  Maintain high standards and implement best practices.
  5. Shitsuke (Sustain) - Build in processes to keep the 5S system automatically sustaining itself.  Maintain the discipline of keeping the 5S system operating.
  6. A 6th S is often included which refers to Safety.