Lean Products and Tools

- (507) 721-0968

Information Center



  • Understand the purpose of 5S
  • Understand the 5S process
  • Understand the goals and benefits of 5S
  • Vision of success

Why 5S?

  • Provides a foundation for lean manufacturing systems and learning activities on how to continually strive for improvement by focusing on details and maintaining process discipline. 
  • Eliminates waste from value stream processes
  • Provides a clean workplace for improved safety
  • Provides an always ready customer showcase to promote business
  • Contributes to "how we feel" about our product, company and ourselves
  • Processes without 5S contain hidden hazards for workers and equipment
  • Processes with visual management provide cleaner and safer work environments

Workplace Categories

  • Third Class - organizations where people throw trash around and no one cleans it up. (without 5S)
  • Second Class - organizations where people throw trash around and someone else cleans it up. (without 5S)
  • First Class - No one throws trash around and everyone works to keep things clean. (with 5S)

Advantages of a First Class workplace

  • A neat and clean factory:
    • Has higher productivity
    • Is safer
    • Has better on-time delivery performance
    • Produces less defects
    • Has less hassle
    • Isn't an embarrassment
    • Has better employee morale

What is 5S?

  • An essential step for waste elimination
  • A place for everything and everything in it's place, clean and ready for use
  • All know - All seeing - All acting

What are the 5S's?

  • 5S process is for improving the physical environment
  • Each "S" designates a progression in the implementation process:
    • 1) Sort
    • 2) Set
    • 3) Shine
    • 4) Standardize
    • 5) Sustain

(1) Sort

  • Critically examine everything in your work area and get rid of what is not frequently used.
  • No emotional attachments
  • Apply test for what is and what is not needed - 1) Have I used this item in the last month, 2) Will I use the item in the next month.
  • Unnecessary items are anything in your area you do not need in the short term.  Necessary but rarely used items may be put in locations further away and retrieved when needed.
  • Unnecessary items may be: Stock, tools, pallets, equipment, fixtures, documents, desks, chairs, etc.

Red Tag

  • Red tags are a "red flag" to be place on unneeded items.
  • Give everyone a chance to review the item before it is removed.
  • Removed items may be scrapped, salvaged, sold or moved to a designated location for excess items.
  • Remove items not needed on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Items in need of repair or maintenance may be flagged until resolved.

(2) Set (In Order)

  • Process of organizing needed items
  • Arrange all items so they are easy to find and readily retrieved.
  • A place for everything and everything in its place.
  • You can see where, what, and how many.
  • Ready retrieval
  • Ready return
  • Anybody can take an item out and return the item after use.
  • All movable items have labeled location and can easily be recognized when missing.
  • All movable items are labeled to where they belong.
  • Items located to eliminate as much motion waste as possible. Locate item where it is used / needed

1S and 2S Summary

  • 1S Key points
    • Get rid of unnecessary items using red tags
    • Apply "test"
  • 2S Key points
    • Organize items so anyone can immediately see, take out and return them to their designated places

(3) Shine

  • Process of cleaning up
  • Initial "deep cleaning"
  • Implement house keeping practices so that any dirt or grease is immediately obvious
  • Clean, paint, and repair

Why Shine?

  • Establish a healthier, safer environment for both humans and machines.
  • Clean work places are associated with world-class companies.
  • Setting a new standard to maintain moving forward.
  • When we clean we look for:
    • Faulty parts
    • Broken gauges
    • Loose nuts and bolts
    • Cracked housings
    • Low lubricant levels
    • Frayed wiring

(4) Standardize

  • Apply best practices to all work areas
  • Make 1S, 2S and 3S a habit
  • Standardized methods

(5) Sustain

  • Personal commitment to high house keeping standards
  • Apply continuous improvement to the application of 5S
    • Prevent the milk from spilling vs. cleaning it up after the glass tips over
  • Look for a change in behaviors
    • Would you stop to pick up a piece of paper from the floor

Goals and Benefits

  • Empower your employees to sustain their work area
  • Improve safety
  • Strengthen employees' pride in their work
  • Identify problems quicker
  • Develop control through go-and-see
  • Increase product and process quality
  • Establish convenient work practices
  • Decrease downtime
  • Raise employee morale