Case Study: 5S in Practice

5S is a Lean tool that helps in workplace organization. The following is the list of five Japanese words and their translation in English.

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(Seiri) Sorting and prioritizing: Going through all the tools, materials, etc., in the work area and keeping only the essential items. Everything else is stored or discarded.
(Seiton) Straighten or set in order: Focuses on efficiency, by arranging the tools, equipment, visual dashboards and parts in a manner that promotes workflow. For everything there should be place and everything should be in its place.
(Seisō) Shining or cleanliness: Systematic cleaning, or the need to keep the workplace clean as well as neat. At the end of each shift, the work area is cleaned up and everything is restored to its place.
(Seiketsu) Standardizing: Aligning work practices, or operating in a consistent and consistent fashion. Everyone knows exactly what his or her responsibilities are to keep above the previous three S’s.
(Shitsuke) Sustaining the discipline: Maintaining and reviewing standards. Once the previous four S’s have been established, they become the new way to operate.

Initially, 5S had significance in the manufacturing arena, but it has expanded into all areas of industries and operations.

Consider the following example of an implementation of 5S that reduced the time to generate a report from three hours to ten minutes.

S1 – Sorting of data: A finance team previously generated a report that pulled data from 2010 through the current date. The team, however, only required the data for the last year to do their analysis. Logic used to pull information was modified and reduced report-generation time.
S2 – Set in order: The team needed data in a particular order while performing analysis so the team set the columns in that particular order, saving analysis time.
S3 – Shine: The entire report was cleaned. Cells and data columns that were not required were removed. This sped up the report generation time.
S4 – Standardize: A prior report was run during the day; it used to take a significant amount of time of both an employee and machine. A consistent process was created around the time of report generation. Every morning before the shift starts, one person will run the report, which will take ten minutes.
S5 – Sustain: All of the activities described in the previous 4 S’s were sustained for the last three months and now this process is business as usual for the team.

Comments 24

  1. Priya Arora

    Very aptly and meaningfully put up!
    Following the author ??

  2. Greesh Kumar

    Great Article.

  3. Vibhore Srivastava

    Very informative.

  4. Sarika Sen

    Very insightful article. Good work.

  5. VIKAS

    A great article gives us fresher to what we have done in six sigma training.
    Thanks for sharing this Mohit :)

  6. khushboo Gupta

    Great article!
    Nicely explained.

  7. Gopal Jee

    Very sensible article Mohit Sir…
    Many thanks for sharing.

  8. meenakshi bhojwani

    Nice Article, very well explained

  9. neha

    Very informative and Great use of words. Well Explanatory!

  10. Anusha

    Clearly explained with examples, great

  11. Shelendar Kumar

    nice article, very informative.

  12. Shailendra Tripathi

    Very nice… Thanks for sharing!!

  13. VIkas Sharma

    Very Nice article, keep going and share more informatics topics relates to lean and 6 Sigma.

  14. Manisha Makhijani

    Excellent example on application of 5S! Easy to understand and relate with reporting processes.

  15. Maroua Regragui

    great article, and great example. I have a question, what if you have a space that is continuously evolving and changing, the what do you do, just keep repeating the first 4s out of the 5, or is there a better tool in this case?

  16. Dhawal

    Hi Mohit, very well described and just to share I also follow this methodology in my workplace and daily life and it help me to save lot of time. Like i don’t need to search for things ,I know where they are placed etc…

    Please continue to share some more insights on lean & six sigma topics.


  17. Richard Troost

    My organization struggles with sustaining efforts throughout different shifts and operators. What are some tips in enforcing sustainment in an organization with out having to “police” areas? How do you gain participation and buy in by those who feel that 5S is only a new system of rules that they have to follow and not a benefit for them?

  18. Jaiteja

    Very well explained.
    I would like to know if these 5S should keep changing along with the growing technology and become adaptable with it?

  19. Carbini

    Good to see an unusual example of 5S application.

  20. Ruchika S

    A great article, appreciate the example very well put by the author!

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