5S techniques

5S represents Japanese words that describe the steps of a workplace organization process. English equivalent words are shown in parenthesis

  1. Seiri (Sort)
  2. Seiton (Straighten, Set)
  3. Seiso (Shine, Sweep)
  4. Seiketsu (Standardize)
  5. Shitsuke (Sustain)

In simple terms, the five S methodology helps a workplace remove items that are no longer needed (sort), organize the items to optimize efficiency and flow (straighten), clean the area in order to more easily identify problems (shine), implement color coding and labels to stay consistent with other areas (standardize) and develop behaviors that keep the workplace organized over the long term (sustain).

It is also referred to as 6S or 5S+S (adding Safety or Security) or even 7s (adding Spirit and Safety). Not to be confused with Six Sigma (often written as 6s).


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