6S Lean

Learn more about the 6S Method and how to successfully establish it in your company to achieve more productivity and safety.

6S Lean: 5S + safety

6S (also known as 5S + safety) serves to increase, optimize and maintain productivity and safety in the workplace. This simple but effective method creates a fundamentally structured work environment. In this way, you create the optimal conditions in your company for a focused workflow and a sustainable safety culture for your employees.

In this article the following topics are covered:

1. What is 6S Lean?

2. Where does the 5s method come from?

3. Why put "safety" in the 6S method?

4. 3 Tips for implementing 6S

5. 6 Advantages of the 6s method

6. How do digital technologies support the implementation of the 6S Lean method at your workplace?

7. Conclusion

What is 6S Lean?

What do terms, such as Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke mean? These terms describe simple measures which help you to achieve minimalism and sustainability in the coordination of your company policy. Learn the exact definitions of the individual steps here:

  • Sort (Seiri) - Remove all items and materials not needed for the work.

  • Put in order (Seiton) - Organize all tools, equipment and other items by grouping them according to their function, labeling them and placing them in an accessible place.

  • Clean (Seiso) your workplace and make an effort to maintain an appropriate appearance by keeping preventive order. In this additional step, you analyze possible dangers in the workplace and determine preventive measures or controls. A digital safety checklist is particularly useful for this purpose.

  • Normalize (Seiketsu) - Establish workplace standards and carry out regular checks.

  • Sustain (Shitsuke) - Your goal at 6S Lean should be to standardize and maintain the method, with continuity making the process a "natural routine" over time.

Where does the 5s method come from?

For a deeper understanding and as proof of the effectiveness of this method, it is important to know the origins and background of this method: The 5s method is part of the Lean method, and is therefore considered a continuous optimization process. The principle was developed in the early 20th century by the Japanese Taiichi Ono, who significantly influenced the production philosophy of Toyota. What is innovative about the method is not only its minimalist and cyclical approach, but also the clear encouragement of employee participation. After all, employees are largely responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the method.

Why does "safety" find its place in the 6S Lean method?

The process of tidying, sorting and cleaning is an active engagement with the premises and objects in the workplace: a perfect opportunity to check them for safety and risk. After all, safety in any workplace should always be the top priority. A safe workplace creates a pleasant and healthy atmosphere and promotes productivity and motivation of each employee. By incorporating safety practices, the 5s Lean Cycle is optimally complemented by risk assessments and an occupational safety analysis (JSA). Also train your employees and sensitize them to safe safety practices. The safety training will help you do this. Finally, if there are unavoidable risks, you should protect your employees with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

3 tips for implementing 6S

6s Lean or 5s + safety is more than just cleaning up! This is about a consequent and continuous process improvement. Implementing 6s can result in a number of serious mistakes, such as using the method once or communicating incorrectly with your employees. Find out how to implement 6S Lean in manufacturing and other industries. The following three tips will help you to implement 6s in a step-by-step and meaningful way.

  1. Communicate & School - Ensure that all employees are introduced to the 6s method and made aware of its benefits. Involve employees in increasing productivity by incorporating their experiences with the method and suggestions for corrective measures into the company policy.

  2. Appoint a person in charge - As a cyclical improvement method, it is essential for the success of this method to carry it out regularly so that it becomes a routine process over time. For this purpose, it is particularly useful to appoint a person in charge, who also has an open ear for questions and impressions from employees.

  3. Control - The implementation of this regular procedure must, at least at the beginning, be done by a certain degree of control or self-control. It is important not to rebuke employees as chaotic, but to emphasize the effectiveness of this method, which is achieved through uniformity.

Advantages of the 6s method:

Here you will find the main advantages of implementing 6s Lean for your company in a nutshell:

  • Productivity increase in the entire company

  • Less reworking

  • More freedom of movement

  • Satisfied and motivated employees

  • A stable safety community within your company

  • Faster familiarization of new employees


  • 6s Lean (5S+ safety) creates a optimal working environment, resulting in a significant increase in productivity

  • Lean creates a safe, sustainable working environment through strong freedom of movement, motivated employees and reduced material consumption.

  • The 6s method is highly dependent on the cooperation of your employees and should therefore be well communicated.

  • 5S + Safety is not a "quick fix", i.e. a one-off corrective measure, but a continuous, cyclical optimization approach

How do digital technologies support the implementation of the 6S method in your workplace?

Make your workplace a clean and safe place with the 6S method today! Start by downloading our free 5S and 6S audit templates by Lumiform.

Lumiform gives you the flexibility to perform any inspection you want - anytime, anywhere. Inspect construction sites and restaurants for food safety, perform temperature checks, safety briefings and more. Lumiform is the ideal mobile solution for audits and inspections in all industries.

Featured templates

Lean 6S Audit

Lean 6S Audit

Use this template to take a tour of your business using the Lean 6 method. A report is then automatically generated. See template

6S Walkthrough

6S Walkthrough

Use this template to implement the 6S method in your company and benefit from the method every day. See template

6S Lean Safety Checklist

6S Lean Safety Checklist

With this checklist, you can identify hazards or potential risks. See template

Your contact for all questions concerning 6S Lean

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