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What is 5S?

5S methodology started in Japan as a way for Toyota to organize its factory operations, and now it's widely used by all types of manufacturing businesses. Each step is designed to be followed in sequence and the sequence is designed to be repeatedly whenever work begins.

5S, sometimes called the 5S system, is a method of streamlining a manufacturing process through organizing the workplace. It’s called 5S because the system has five parts which each begin with the letter S, designed to increase efficiency by removing clutter and waste.

Those five stages are:

  • Seiri (sort)
  • Seiton (set in order)
  • Seiso (shine)
  • Seiketsu (standardize)
  • Shitsuke (sustain)

Each stage focuses on a different part of workplace organization, from making sure areas are clean to ensuring tools and materials are easy to find. One key aspect of 5S methodology is that it’s repetitive; you are supposed to follow all these steps each day to make sure work progresses as smoothly as possible. By doing so, your goal is to prompt a cultural shift such that cleanliness and order are automatic.

This video explanation covers:

  • Origins and definition of 5S
  • Benefits of 5S
  • How to implement each step of the 5S system
Guide to the 5S system
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