What is 5S Concept

5S Concept

As we all know, the 5S concept is an organisation tool. It is utilised to enhance efficiency and eliminate waste by preserving a pure and organised work environment. And also demonstrates that Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardise and Sustain. So, it is mainly focused on keeping the workplace tidy so then employees can do their work efficiently.

Furthermore, the 5S concept is easy to apply, and it doesn’t need any technical methods to apply in the workplace. This concept is suitable for large multinational organisations to small businesses.

This article will provide you with a brief knowledge of the 5S concept and history of the 5S concept and also will give you knowledge of the advantages of the 5S concept in the workplace. You can get a brief idea about the 5S concept and how they’re important in industries.

The Key Anecdote Related To The 5S Concept

Toyota Automobile Company initiated the 5S concept in Japan. 5S is used to indicate the Japanese words seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. As mentioned above, this is not just a management tool, it is a culture. So, it can be implemented in any workplace that focuses on the spontaneous and gradual development of the workplace and working environment. Thus, it relates to everyone in the organisation, from the top level to the bottom.

What Is The 5S Concept?


However, this is a total management tool to keep the workplace in standard condition. Especially, this is a preventive approach to keep the organisation in the well-organised stage. Save money and time plays a major role in this concept because there are no waste items in the workplace.

Definitions of each of the five S’s

  • 1S Sort: Clear out the unwanted things and keep the wanted things
  • 2S Set in Order: Arrange the things in the appropriate order to take them easily
  • 3S Shine: maintain things clean and clear.
  • 4S Standardise: Develop standards and guidelines for workplace
  • 5S Sustain: Create a 5S adhered worked environment

The purpose and benefits of each S, with examples and case studies if possible.

Every step has its benefits in the 5S concept. This is not a useful business tool for owners but also useful to employees and consumers.

1S Sort

Sorting is the first step of the 5S concept, which is to increase the usage of space in workplaces by removing unwanted pieces of stuff. Red tagging is the process that removes unnecessary things and is mentioned as “red tagged items” in the workplace.

2S Set in Order

This is the second step and helps to create a less stressful work environment for employees. Every item has an appropriate place to keep. Colour-coded labels are used to Identify the storage space of the items. Frequently needed items are kept very near the employees, which is reduced the time to access the items.

3S Shine

This is the third step of the 5S concept, which is not meant to be a beautiful workplace. Employees can be identified the problems easily that arise in the workplace. Missing items also can be easily identified and reduce the waste of time. Employees are encouraged to work in a clean working environment, and they will pay full attention to their workload.

4S Standardize

This is the fourth step of the 5S concept. Standardise ensures the first three steps of the 5S management tool. The aim of the step is to maintain the workplace in the consistency stage. Regularity of the organisation is also important to keep the environment in stable condition.

5S Sustain

Sustain is the final step of the 5S concept. The gains obtained through the successful implementation of the first four ‘S’ might also be gone out, and they are bound to be back to square one. Maintaining the previous achievements of the organisation is the most important part of the system. Discipline is not easy to execute; however the same time, it is not very challenging either.

How the 5S concept can enhance efficiency in the workplace.

This ideal method improves the efficiency, productivity, safety and quality of the work atmosphere. The gain of efficiency is increased by many folds in the 5S concept because there is no time wastage to find the items in the workplace.

All most all items ( Tools, Equipment, Machine, People) are located in appropriate places; therefore, employees do not want to search for items and is increased the productivity of the workplace.

A clean and tidy working atmosphere is reduced work-related injuries, which are always helped to maintain employee safety throughout the workplace. Here, 5S plays a major role by clearing all the clutters and keeping everything in appropriate places.

Why the 5S concept is important in different industries.

5S can be applied in different industries worldwide, and decreasing waste and increasing productivity is the main goal of it. This concept has five important key terms which responsible for different functions in the organisation.

These are some reasons why it’s important in industries.

  • Ensure the safety of employees
  • Increase the productivity
  • Involvement of employees
  • Increase the efficiency
  • Reduce the time wastes
  • Save the money

The History And Origin Of The 5S Concept

5S History

The 5S concept is originated from Toyota’s Production System, which developed by Taiichi Ohno during the 1960s in Japan. This concept was developed to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and safety of the workplace.

How the 5S concept originated

Toyota Production System (TPS)  was an old name for the 5S concept in the past times which was developed by Taichi Ohno, Eiji Toyoda and the industrial engineering team in 1950. Sakichi Toyoda, who is the father of the Japanese industrial revolution, and his son Kichiro and Tauchi Ohno modified TPS and Changed the name to the 5S concept.

The way that 5S concept has evolved and been adopted in different countries and industries.

The 5S concept was started by automobile production companies then it was quickly adapted to other industries, such as healthcare, technology and government sectors in the world. After the success of Toyota company, this has been adopted globally. Europe companies tend to change their organisational culture into this concept because this is a successful business tool.

Nowadays, the 5S concept can implement in each and every company in the world. This is one of the most successful business tools in the world.

How To Implement The 5S Concept

A 5S concept is a primary tool which can apply in the workplace as a starting point to change the culture of the organisations. There are primary rules of the 5S concept. So, its purpose is to maintain a safe and clean environment. You can learn more knowledge about this concept from the below guide to implementing the 5S concept.

The proper guide to implementing the 5S concept in a workplace


Sorting is the first step which means that remove unwanted things and properly keeping wanted things in the workplace. This is an important step because unwanted things take up most of the area of the workplace, which consumes the working time. Sorting should perform correctly to maintain the 5S tool in the workplace. Consideration of sorting steps,

  • Develop criteria for maintaining the things
  • Sort out the unwanted items
  • Keeping the unwanted items in the storage area
  • Perform a deep cleaning of the work environment


Set in order is the second main step in the 5S. Things should be arranged in a good manner by using the ergonomic principle to ensure the things which have been placed in their place where they belong. This provides a tidy and clean atmosphere in the workplace.

  • Select the appropriate place for each item
  • Label the name of the item
  • Prepare equipment layout
  • Arrange the item tidy
  • Use the colour codes to identify the item
  • Place item properly


Shine is the third step of the 5S, which that confirmed every item is in good condition. It means that regular maintenance of the workplace is routine. Everyone should engage in this step.

Cleaning is routine action in the workplace which provides a good atmosphere for employees.

  • Perform daily inspection
  • Check the working conditions of the types of machinery
  • Test the visual quality of items
  • Identify the defects


Standardizing is the fourth step of 5S. It maintains good performance in the workplace. This is the ensuring step of the previous steps. Standardisation is important in the lean management tool.

  • Check the agreement documents
  • Prepare documents to maintain 5S
  • Maintain the data about each item
  • Keep a separate fail for each machine
  • Record the performance


Sustain is the final step in the 5S management tool. Also, the main goal of this step is to maintain the 5S concept continuously without any interruptions.

  • Examine the 5S level of achievement
  • Measure the level of achievement
  • Do check-ups
  • Integrate the continuous improvement
  • Maintain the 5S concept continuously

Tips and best practices for successful implementation based on real-world examples and experiences.

  • Supply the resources for implementation
  • Provide a training programme for employees
  • Identify the flaws and loopholes
  • Start the pilot implementation in each department
  • Perform weekly and monthly audits to check the performance

Common challenges that may arise during implementation and how to overcome them.

There are some common challenges or pitfalls when implementing 5S in a workplace. Now, we will find out some of the common challenges and how to overcome them through this article.

  1. Lack of adaptation and innovation
  2. Lack of awareness and buy-in
  3. Lack of sufficient time and resources in the workplace
  4. Lack of standardisation and consistency
  5. Lack of commitment of the 5S implementing team

Case Studies of Successful 5S Implementation

Many companies in the world apply the 5S concept to aim for their target in the workplace. Therefore, training is mandatory to implement the 5S concept, and every employee must gain a clear knowledge of the 5S concept. Employee attitude plays a huge role in attaining the target of this concept because employees are key elements of the workplace.

Real-world examples of organisations that have successfully executed the 5S concept and the benefits they have achieved.

The 5S concept was first implemented by the Toyota automobile company in Japan. After that, many other country companies started to implement the 5S in their own workplace.

  1. Boeing; Chicago – They applied a 5S and lean production system on the factory floor and the office. By doing so, they expected to increase their maximum efficiency.
  2. Hewlett- Packard; California- 5S was utilized in their computer system division of Hewlett- Packard. Their employees systematically increased their productivity because this procedure made remarkable changing.
  3. Wasatch and Squatters Brewery – Especially this was a leading company in the implementation of 5S in manufacturing beer, which resulted in an increase in the productivity of the plant.
  4. Larger breweries-This company also used the 5S concept in their production plant, which increased their greater efficiency of the production process.
  5. Harley-Davidson Motor Company; Milwaukee, Wisconsin-Many branches of Harley-Davidson factories applied the 5S, which was changed systematically and increased the efficiency drastically.

Case studies and testimonials illustrate the impact of the 5S concept on different industries.

Manufacturing Industry: A successful implementation of 5S in the manufacturing industry gives drastic changes in the whole industry process. Manufacturers need to fulfil both clients’ and employees’ desires. The 5S concept assists in enhancing the quality and productivity of manufacturing industries.

Healthcare Industry: Also, there are many sectors where the 5S concept can implement within the healthcare industry. No workplace is too small to apply the 5S, and even we can apply the 5S to the surgery tray in the hospital. And also, safety is an extra-focusing issue in the 5S concept, which is focused on a hospital environment. So, this additional focus can be confirmed and reduce the potentially hazardous situations in the hospitals.

Hospitality Industry: Especially, customer satisfaction plays a major role in the hospitality industry. However, the traditional management approach is insufficient to fulfil customer satisfaction, and the 5S concept is the best method to increase the quality and value of the hotels. It is a preventive approach to minimise losses and failures in the workplace.

Data and statistics to quantify the benefits of 5S implementation

When the 5S concept properly implement in the workplace, which provides a number of benefits to manufacturers, there are numerous benefits to the 5S concept. Furthermore, cost reduction is a key benefit of the 5S concept.

There are some studies which show the statistics of 5S implementation,

  • Waste reduces by up to 20-50 %
  • Productivity increases by 15- 50 %
  • Safety increases by about 70 %

5S And Lean Management

5S and Lean

Lean Management is a business model for increasing customer value while minimising waste. So, this has become a universal management tool for delivering value and optimising workflows.

The relationship between the 5S concept and Lean Management and how they complement each other

The Lean Management principle uses in the manufacturing process, which eliminates waste process in Japan in the twentieth century. The 5S concept always combines with Lean Management because 5S is a basement of Lean manufacturing. Once a concept applies in the workplace, which is easy to implement Lean Management in the appropriate workplace. The key point of 5S is to keep everything in order, which facilitates the identification of problems and also makes it possible to make a success of Lean Management.

How the 5S concept can be combined with a broader Lean Management Strategy

Lean Management is an operational tool. As well it is originated in the automotive sector in Japan. Also, it is increasing the “best practices” in a factory. It has evolved into a set of principles for all areas of business but with mixed results. So, the 5S is a natural part of the lean manufacturing management strategy. The reason is it full fills all of the fundamental ideas of lean at a considerable size.

 The five core principles of this strategy,

  1. Identify the value
  2. Map the value chain
  3. Create the flow
  4. Establish the pull
  5. Pursuit the Perfection

Final Thought

So, 5S provides a strong bond to apply more advanced lean production tools to the appropriate workplace. This concept has been proven to improve the efficiency and productivity of the organisation while improving customer satisfaction. This can be seen as a challenging task when implemented the first time. However, it doesn’t actually tough; once you can realise how much money and time it saves, you will desire its advantages to the workplace.

Thus, you should understand the depth of the 5S concept to increase the benefits of the tool. Especially remember that the size of the workplace doesn’t matter; it can implement in any size of workplace.