Implementing 5S

As we start a new year, we have goals that are started; and hopefully will complete, implementing 5S should be a part of them.  With a new year its also time to set in order the office whether at home or in office which can feel like a monumental task. There is a process called 5S that would eliminate that daunting yearly task and provide a streamlined approach. 5S is defined as a methodology that results in a workplace that is clean, uncluttered, safe, and well organized to help reduce waste and optimize productivity. It is designed to help build a quality work environment, both physically and mentally. 5S is part of Lean, which is focused on reducing waste and improving efficiency, plus much more.

Implementing 5S is comprised of the following steps

  1. Sort (Seiri): Sort through materials, keeping only the essential items needed to complete tasks. (This action involves going through all the contents of a workspace to determine which are needed and which can be removed. Everything that is not used to complete a work process should leave the work area.)
  2. Set in Order (Seiton): Ensure that all items are organized, and each item has a designated place. Organize all the items left in the workplace in a logical way so they make tasks easier for workers to complete. This often involves placing items in ergonomic locations where people will not need to bend or make extra movements to reach them.
  3. Shine (Seiso): Proactive efforts to keep workplace areas clean and orderly to ensure purpose-driven work. This means cleaning and maintaining the newly organized workspace. It can involve routine tasks such as mopping, and dusting, or performing maintenance on machinery, tools, and other equipment.
  4. Standardize (Seiketsu): Create a set of standards for both organization and processes. This is where you take the first three S’s and make rules for how and when these tasks will be performed. These standards can involve schedules, charts, and lists.
  5. Sustain (Shitsuke): Sustain new practices and conduct audits to maintain discipline. This means the previous four S’s must be continued over time. This is achieved by developing a sense of self-discipline in employees who will participate in 5S.

Implementing 5S

The benefits of implementing 5S including the following:

  • Reduction in Waste; Waste comes in various forms over inventory, excess off supplies, and process time. Here is a simple example of office waste, when working for company we implemented 5S and started the sort process, during that process we found over approximately ten (10) years of paperclips, yes paper clips.
  • Improved Safety; when there is a clean warehouse meaning everything has a place and everything is in its place it reduces the opportunity for trip hazard.
  • Increased Productivity; Productivity can be improved in several ways. The removal unnecessary tools and providing improved data structure are a couple of examples. With data, when there is a standard of categorizing files it creates the ability to retrieve information quickly. With work teams, we have implemented run rules around data and file structure, and it resulted that within seconds team members could retrieve customer information, as an example regardless of which person was responding to the customer inquiry.

Curious and want to learn more on how to implement or improve your business 5S process, please reach out to xSynergy Solutions and we would welcome the opportunity to provide more insight into implementing 5S. xSynergy Solutions is a full-service business transformation firm located in Centennial, CO. We impact every aspect of your business from marketing to operational strategies. Learn more at