Benefits of implementing the 5S Process


Implementing 5S Process


5S (5S Definition) is a cornerstone of any lean manufacturing implementation, either applied within your manufacturing environment, office processes or even within a service industry, but what are the benefits of implementing the 5S process? Without 5S your company will not have the right foundations on which to build any form of business improvement philosophy.


The 5S Process



Steps of 5S


The 5S process is a very simple methodical team based approach to organizing your work space to ensure that it is tidy, arranged ergonomically, efficient and capable of repeatable, quality output. It does this through a simple five stage process, each step starting with the letter “S” hence the name 5S.
The 5S process is not one that can be forced onto an area by an outsider, it a process of improvement that is conducted by the people that work within the area itself. They become responsible for and have ownership of all of the improvements and changes that they implement.
It is an ongoing process of improvement, not just a once off event to tidy everything up before a customer visit, if you find yourself still having to conduct clean ups prior to visits then you have not implemented 5S!



Benefits of 5S


The benefits of 5S for Lean are significant, it is suggested that efficiency gains of the order of 10% to 30% can be achieved, and certainly within my experience of handling many 5S program implementations these levels of success have always been achieved, even in companies that already claim to have implemented 5S.

The reasons for these gains in efficiency are many fold and stem from a number of benefits driven by the implementation of 5S;
Due to the removal of all but the necessary items in a work area during the first stage of 5S you remove many instances of the waste of waiting and motion as items are easier to find and you do not have to get around unnecessary clutter.
The second stage of 5S results in ensuring that items (components, equipment, tools, machines, people) are located in the most ergonomic and thus efficient (and safer) positions. This eliminates many of the seven wastes of manufacturing. The operators do not have to search for things as the use of shadow boards and clear visual identification ensure that things are immediately to hand and obvious. These items are located as close to where they are needed and at the correct most ergonomic height and orientation to minimize handling.
The third stage of 5S ensures that the work place remains clear of clutter and that any signs of malfunction become more obvious leading to actions being taken to prevent more serious breakdowns and other delays.
The forth and most important step is that of standardization, wherein you ensure that there are standard ways of working. This ensures that everyone uses the most efficient work method and that there are clear standards. This prevents delays, defects and other wasteful occurrences
The right tools in the right place, the correct methods and standards, and a motivated workforce means that you will have a far more efficient and less wasteful working environment. The visual management aspects ensure that anyone can see if there are problems such as things missing, in the wrong location and so on.
The 5th stage, sustain, ensures that this continues on an ongoing basis and that it remains everyone’s responsibility; this ensures that there is no slippage and that you continue to challenge what you do and make improvements through the constant involvement of your staff.
In addition to these benefits, you will have a visually more pleasing environment that will serve as a significant marketing tool from which to be able to sell your company.


Problems Become Obvious


One of the biggest benefits of 5S is that problems within your processes become immediately obvious. Components that begin to stack up in areas that they should not be in, or empty racks and other visual aspects of your 5S implementation quickly show you exactly where problems are occurring. The challenge then is to do something about it!


Examples of 5S Benefits

5S Clearing

5S will remove Clutter

5S Seiton

5S Seiton organized workspace

5S Standardize

5S Organized Workplace

5S Sustain

5S communication









How to realize the Benefits of 5S


5S should be implemented in an example area to start with, build an “island or excellence” to gain people’s support and trust as well as to show what can be achieved.

You will need an “expert” to facilitate the 5S program with 5S training, either an in-house expert with experience in implementing lean techniques like 5S or you will need to bring in a lean/5S consultant or lean/5S trainer. 5S is not something that you learn in a class room, whilst there should be an overview given to all involved as to how it works plus an explanation of the seven wastes and some company specific objectives, the bulk of the “training” should be at the work place actually conducting the 5S process. In-House 5S Training is the best way forward but don’t forget to ensure that you have all of the 5S training materials that you will need.


The five steps of 5S to gain benefits

The five steps of 5S are;

  • 5S Seiri (Sort, Clearing, Classify) to remove all of the clutter from the work place
  • 5S Seiton (Straighten, Simplify, Set in order, Configure) to organize all tools, materials and equipment in an efficient and ergonomic manner.
  • 5S Seiso (Sweep, shine, Scrub, Clean and Check) to clean up the entire area removing all dirt.
  • 5S Seiketsu (Standardize, stabilize, Conformity) to ensure standard ways of working for the first three stages.
  • 5S Shitsuke (Sustain, self discipline, custom and practice) to ensure that 5S principles are part of the culture of the business.


5S Benefits PowerPoint Presentation

Benefits of 5S – Free 5S PPT presentation for download.


5S Benefits PDF Download

Benefits of 5S – Free 5S PDF download


Full Set of 5S Training Presentations;

For a full array of 5S training presentations and 5S PDF files follow this link; 5S Training PDF


5S Benefits Video



5S Resources


If you are to realise the benefits of 5S implementation within your organisation then the following may be of help;

  • 5S Pocket Guides which are small easy to carry references for lean and 5S related information.
  • 5S DVDs or videos can be very helpful for showing how 5S should be done.
  • 5S Books or 5S eBooks to download; many available for many different industries also.
  • 5S Supplies for your implementation such as floor marking tape and racking.
  • 5S training games and simulations which can be used to quickly show the benefits of 5S.
  • 5S Posters  to show the various steps and benefits of the 5S process.


If you have any questions or would like to add any benefits of implementing the 5S process feel free to use the section below to leave your insights or queries.

3 comments for “Benefits of implementing the 5S Process

  1. mahmoud ghoul
    November 23, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Kindly I need presentation regard 5s , 5c and some books regard the issue before
    the befits to implement the 5s

  2. VHudson
    August 11, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    5S did not originate from Ford. It’s origin is Japanese. The 5S terminology are Japanese based words.

  3. Dirk
    July 19, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Dear VHudson,

    After WWII Japan was completely down. Not having natural resources forced them to make the best out of the situation to become great again. With the support of many countries and by visiting the automotive industry in the US they saw the CANDO PRINCIPLE of H. Ford. Once back in Japan and with lack of resources they converted many things into very simplified tools to be deployed immediately on the Gemba. 5S is an operator solving tool of un-expected waste or elements.

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