What is 5S; Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke



What is 5S


One of the most powerful Lean Manufacturing Tools and a cornerstone of any successful implementation is that of 5S, but what is 5S and its 5 Steps of Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke?

5S is a simple tool for organizing your workplace in a clean, efficient and safe manner to enhance your productivity, visual management and to ensure the introduction of standardized working.
Most of the other definitions of 5S and descriptions that I see here on the internet concentrate heavily on the aesthetics and the efficiency gains that you achieve through implementing 5S and neglect the real aim of 5S; the need to introduce standard operational practices to ensure efficient, repeatable, safe ways of working.

In addition to standardised working which provides you with a stable foundation to build all of your other improvements through implementing Lean Tools, you also provide a highly visual workplace. One of the most important factors of 5S is that it makes problems immediately obvious.
5S is a team run process and should be conducted by the people who work within the area in which the principles of 5S are being applied, it is not a tool that can be applied by an outsider onto an area without the knowledge and cooperation of the people within it.


Origins of 5S

5S as a methodology has come out of the techniques within Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) and from the Toyota Production System (TPS). However many of the individual components such as creating ergonomic and efficient work places can be seen to owe their roots to people such as Taylor for his work on “scientific management” and Frank Gilbreth’s “time and motion studies.”

Frank Gilbreth showed that by improving the ergonomics of a bricklayers working methods he could reduce the number of individual movements required and increase the hourly output from 120 to 350 bricks laid each hour.


The Concept of 5S

5S is a methodical way to organize your workplace and your working practices as well as being an overall philosophy and way of working. It is split into 5 phases, each named after a different Japanese term beginning with the letter “S”; (Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke) hence the name 5 S.

These five distinct phases are (with English descriptions);


Steps of 5S


5S Seiri;           Sort, Clearing, Classify
5S Seiton;        Straighten, Simplify, Set in order, Configure
5S Seiso;          Sweep, shine, Scrub, Clean and Check
5S Seiketsu;     Standardize, stabilize, Conformity
5S Shitsuke;     Sustain, self discipline, custom and practice

And for completeness, some companies add a 6th (6S) of Safety, although in my opinion this should be an integral part of the steps of 5S and not a separate stage in itself.




5C and CANDO


There has been reluctance for some companies in the past to take up “Japanese” initiatives for business improvement, so some consultancies and other bodies have come up with non-Japanese equivalents; two of which are listed below as alternatives for 5S.

5S is also known in some quarters as 5C, with the “S” words replaced by

  • Clearing,
  • Configure,
  • Clean and Check,
  • Conformity and finally
  • Custom and practice.


  • Cleanup,
  • Arrange,
  • Neatness,
  • Discipline, and
  • Ongoing Improvement.


5S Definition


Below are definitions and explanations of each step of the 5S process;


5S Seiri or Sort


5S Seiri

5S Seiri removing Clutter


5S Seiri or Sort is the first step in 5S, it refers to the sorting of the clutter from the other items within the work area that are actually needed. This stage requires the team to remove all items that clearly do not belong in the working area and only leave those that are required for the processes in question.





5S Seiton or Straighten / Set in order


5S Seiton

5S Seiton organized workspace



5S Seiton or Straighten is the process of taking the required items that are remaining after the removal of clutter and arranging them in an efficient manner through the use of ergonomic principles and ensuring that every item “has a place and that everything is in its place.”




5S Seiso or Sweep / shine


5S Seiso

5S Seiso Cleaning or Sweep




5S Seiso or Sweep is the thorough cleaning of the area, tools, machines and other equipment to ensure that everything is returned to a “nearly new” status. This will ensure that any non-conformity stands out; such as an oil leak from a machine onto a bright, newly painted clean floor.


5S Seiketsu or Standardize


5S Standardize

5S Standardize – Seiketsu


5S Seiketsu or standardize is the process of ensuring that what we have done within the first three stages of 5S become standardized; that is we ensure that we have common standards and ways of working. Standard work is one of the most important principles of Lean manufacturing.



5S Shitsuke or Sustain

5S Sustain

5S Sustain – Shitsuke


The final stage is 5S Shitsuke or sustain, ensuring that the company continue to continually improve using the previous stages of 5S, maintain housekeeping, and conduct audits and so forth. 5S should become part of the culture of the business and the responsibility of everyone in the organization.




 What is 5S PPTx presentation

What is 5S – Powerpoint presentation free to download.


What is 5S PDF Download

What is 5S Presentation – 5S PDF for free download


5S Training Presentations and Downloads

For a full series of 5S presentations and 5S training downloads follow this link; 5S Training PPT and PDF


5S Definition Video



Implementing 5S


If you wish to implement a 5S Program then you will need conduct training and awareness sessions within your organization to ensure that everyone knows what is 5S and how it fits into an overall Lean Manufacturing implementation. These links will help with this process; 5S training will describe my format for any 5S training program, how to run in house 5S Training Course will give advice if you wish to train in house and hiring a 5S Consultant will help you find the right expert to help your company. You may also wish to purchase 5S training materials.


5S Resources


The following are a selection of resources that may support your 5S implementation;

  • 5S Pocket Guides as quick reference aids that ca be carried by anyone.
  • 5S DVDs as a helpful training aid or as a general reminder for your workforce.
  • 5S Books which can provide helpful advice, these are also available as 5S eBooks to download.
  • 5S Supplies such as floor marking tapes and red tags.
  • 5S games and simulations to make training more fun and relevant.
  • 5S Posters  which can ensure your message remains current.


If you would like more information with regard to what is 5S  (Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke) or have any questions regarding this 5S definition then feel free to leave any questions or comments in the box below.

32 comments for “What is 5S; Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke

  1. Ali
    April 27, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Dear sir
    I wanna know who is writer of this?

    • leanman
      May 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      Hi Ali, if you need any more information please feel free to leave a question here or use the contact email.

      • azooz
        January 29, 2016 at 9:20 pm

        hi dear >> How do I get to research on 5s <<< please reply

      • Tapendra Bhowmik
        March 9, 2016 at 5:37 am

        i wanna know when this article was posted ?

        • leanman
          March 10, 2016 at 10:31 am

          Tapendra; June 2011 was the original date of posting but has been updated several times since.

      • luiza
        September 20, 2016 at 12:49 pm

        Who is the writer?

        • leanman
          September 21, 2016 at 5:43 am

          Hi Luiza,

          The author T.Earley is clearly stated in the right hand column where it provides you with all of the details.

      • Laarni Ona
        September 20, 2017 at 1:13 pm


        Are pillows allowed or disallowed under the 5S discipline?

        • leanman
          October 3, 2017 at 8:04 am

          Hi Laarni
          It all depends what the purpose of the pillow is. I think you may refering more to the expectations of your management within your workplace.

  2. Tasleem Ali
    January 24, 2013 at 9:30 am

    provide detail of 5s concepts in my e-mail

  3. ethel
    November 16, 2013 at 11:47 am

    hi.. I’m BS Psychology student who is conducting a thesis regarding 5S program.. I would like to know if you have questionnaire about 5S program including the validity and reliability of the questionnaire.. If so, Can i have a copy of it??
    Thank you very much..

  4. himanshu
    February 20, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Dear sir ,
    can you pl give me detailed of 5 s, what is the mean , why to use , where to use , in where working the 5 s, when the start of 5 s, and mean that i want fully detailed of 5 s related .

    • leanman
      May 19, 2014 at 7:10 am

      Hi Himanshu,

      If you want to know about 5S just read the article above and follow the various links to more detailed information for each stage.

  5. harry
    July 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    can you send me details of 5S

  6. {افضل شركة نظافة منازل بجدة
    July 11, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Thanks for finally talking about >What is 5S; Seiri,
    Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke <Loved it!

  7. dilhara
    September 12, 2014 at 6:07 am

    dear sir,
    please tell me.what is the Japanese management?

  8. walter kuweju
    November 27, 2014 at 1:29 am

    Dear sir,
    I like to thank you for this information.I am implementing 5s in my work place.Pl can you send me a power point presentation to share with my friend.

    Thank you

  9. March 3, 2015 at 6:16 am

    I understand it very well so thanks for sharing some information regarding to 5’s…Thanks a lot.<3

  10. twinkle
    March 25, 2015 at 5:20 am

    Kindly provide me slogan for 5S

  11. harshika
    May 5, 2015 at 11:58 am

    well done

  12. J M Pant
    July 21, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I do 5S training, and am planning to put all my experiences in book form which will be for commercial use.
    Can I have your permission to use the images on 5S which I came across on google search today?

  13. pastor b. Caya
    September 28, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    i want to have a soft copy of all 5’S specially topics for warehousing, distribution, and logistic operation can you send to my email iwant to explore and reas and i want to apply this in my every day life specially in my work and to may home i want to study this 5’S then i want it to attend a seminar for the 5’S disscusion due to i want to have a certificate and i used it to my work and to my family.i hope you help for this matter thank you and godb bless.

    Best regard,
    pastor b. caya

  14. vishal
    October 5, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    sir please arrange the 5s documents send my mail .

  15. Rajesh kumar
    November 2, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Plz send 5s documents on my mail

  16. Rajesh Kumar
    November 2, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Dear sir
    Please arrange the 5s documents send my mail .

  17. December 7, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Hi. I wanna know who is the author of 5s?
    thanks in advance…

    • leanman
      December 10, 2015 at 3:53 am

      Send an email if you need any additional information about the author of this 5S page or permission to use within another report.

  18. Chiara
    January 14, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Hi. I am the 5 s secretary for 4 months and Iam still schooling. It is interesting and helpful to know andto use the 5 s method. But can I get more information about the 5 s method. I want to know who invented the 5 s method and also I want to know how the Japanese used this method. Moreover, I also want to know about the past of this method. Can I also get more information about the origins of the 5 s method.

    • leanman
      January 21, 2016 at 5:11 am

      Hi Chiara,

      Most of the information that you are looking for about 5S is in the article above.

  19. azooz
    January 29, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    my dear …..
    please send a documents 5s to my mail . izemr89@gmail.com
    plz plz <<

  20. D P Srivastava
    June 14, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Very useful article,I am also a 5S consultant,your articles are very useful in this regards,Please continue to forward articles on 5S.

    April 28, 2017 at 1:54 am

    Hi………..I need more materials for my trainng 5s.
    Also need the mission/vision statement samples

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