Lean ManufacturingProductionQuality control and management

5’s Methodology

To the extent that the organization represents the means that allow the people who collaborate in it to achieve their individual objective, constitutes a factor that has significant impact on the behavior on those who collaborate in the company, the employees. Parallel to the behavior, performance is closely linked to the working conditions, in such a way organization’s objectives, as the result of the summation of individual efforts, is within reach of a productive and efficient environment.

What are the 5’s?

5’s methodology was created in TOYOTA, in the 60’s, and it clusters a series of activities that are developed in order to create working conditions that allow organized and clean labor execution. Said conditions are created through the reinforcement of good behavior and social interaction habits, making an efficient and productive environment.

5’s methodology was originated in Japan, and is called in such a way because the first letter of each of its stages stars with the letter S.

Specific objectives of 5’s methodology

  • To improve and sustain the clean and order conditions, on the work place.
  • Through a clean and organize work please you can have security, motivation and efficiency workers.
  • To eliminate overspending, or waste from the Organization.
  • Improve Organization’s quality.

5’s methodology principles

This methodology its build on 5 main principles:

  • Seriri: Classification and organization.
  • Seiton: Order.
  • Seiso: Cleanness.
  • Seiketsu: Standardization.
  • Shitsuke: Discipline.

1. Classification and organization (Seiri)

Clasificar consiste en:

  • Consists in identifying the nature of each element: Separate what really works from the stuff that doesn’t, the necessary from the useless; whether it is tools, equipment or information.

5S Diagram

The tools you can use are:

The most used tool for classification is the Verification Sheet, on which we can set the nature of each element, and if this element is necessary or not. The advantages of classification are:

Las ventajas de clasificar son:

Once you have reached this principle you’ll have the following benefits:

  • You’ll have additional space.
  • You’ll eliminate excess of tools and obsolete objects.
  • You’ll decrease movement on the work place.
  • Excess time in inventories is eliminated
  • You’ll eliminate overspending.

Seiri Before After

2. Order (Seiton)

To get things in order consists in:

  • To set the right please for each element that is considered necessary.
  • To set the right place for elements that are use not so much frequently.
  • To use visual identification, in such a way that allows people from other areas of the Organization to do a correct disposition.
  • To identify the degree of utility of each element, so a correct disposition can be done, which can reduce unnecessary movement in the workplace.
Use Frequency Disposition
All the time Have it within reach. Have straps or ribbons to attached the tools to the person.
Many times a day Set close to the person
Every day, but no all the time Have it close to the workbench, or the machine
All weeks
Once a month Set near the workplace
Less than once a month, maybe once every two or three months Set it in the warehouse, easily found
  • Determine the exact quantity of what is need from each element.
  • Once an element, or tool, is used, develop an easy way for the people to set this element back were the being supposed to be stored.

The tools you may find useful are:

  • Color codes.
  • Signaling.
  • Verification sheets.

Benefits of keeping things in order are:

  • Decrease in search times.
  • Decrease in times of change.
  • Elimination of unsafe conditions.
  • Less occupied space.
  • Less process’ interruptions.

Seiton Before After

3. Claness (Seiso)

Cleanness consists in:

  • To integrate cleanness as part of the working habits.
  • To assume cleanness as an activity of routine self-maintenance.
  • To eliminate de difference between the process operator and cleaning operator.
  • To eliminate the sources of contamination, not only dirtiness.

The tools you may find useful are:

  • Inspection and cleanness Verification Sheet.
  • Cards to identify and correct sources of dirtiness.

Benefits of keeping thing clean are:

  • Keeping the work place clean raises the collaborator’s motivation.
  • Raises el knowledge about the equipment use in the workplace.
  • Raises the useful life of tools and equipment.
  • Improves the perception of the customer about the processes and the product.

Seiso Before After

4. Standardization (Seiketsu)

Standardization consists in:

  • To keep the organization and cleanness degree reached on the first 3 stages; trough signaling, manuals, procedures and support rules.
  • To instruct the collaborators on the design of support rules.
  • To use visual evidence about how collaborators should keep working areas, equipment and tools.
  • To use molds and templates to keep things in order.

The tools you may find useful are:

  • Standards boards.
  • Templates and samples.
  • Procedures and instructions.

Seiketsu Before After

5. Discipline (Shitsuke):

Discipline consists in:

  • Setting a culture of respect towards establish standards, and to achieve goals in order and cleanness.
  • Promoting self-control about the remaining habits of this methodology.
  • Promoting a “Everything can be improving” philosophy.
  • Learn by doing.
  • Teaching with the example.
  • Making visible the results of the 5’s methodology.

The tools you may find useful are:

  • 5’s Verification Sheet.
  • 5’s round.

Benefits of discipline:

You’ll create the habit of the organization and cleanness among collaborators, and through the instruction and continuous execution of norms.

Paradigms that oppose to the development of 5’s methodology:



  • Collaborators’ individual objectives that have nothing or little to do with the Organization objectives.
  • Collaborators don’t take care of their own workplace, is “a waste of time”.
  • Production and machinery never stops, the important is to produce, not to clean.
  • Is cheaper to hire someone to do the cleaning.



  • I’m being pay to work, not to clean.
  • There is no reason to clean, if it is going to get dirty again.
  • I have been working here for a long time, and have always work like this, I see no reason on why should I start cleaning now.
  • We need is more space to store stuff.

Trending: 9’s:

9’s methodology is a trend a little more complex and integral, contains the traditional 5’s and adds 4 more, which relate with the personal growing of the collaborators. So, is founded on the following principles:

  • Operative stages: Order and cleanness.
  • Standardization stages.
  • Continuous Improvement stages: Discipline.
  • Personal Improvement stages: Constancy, commitment, dedication and syncing.

Is common that in the execution you can develop a 9’s methodology in two stages; the first one instructs the collaborators in the traditional 5’s, and the second instructs the collaborators on other disciplines as coordination, commitment, constancy and syncing, trough principles of effective management, through a program of Management Skills.


Bryan Salazar López

By profession, Industrial Engineer, Master in Logistics, specialized in productivity, with interest and experience in modeling processes under sustainability indicators. Founder of Ingenieriaindustrialonline.com, site where research contributions, articles and references are collected.

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