Simple 5S implementation plan

Why use 5S Methodology?

5S is one of the first tools that can be applied in a company that is fostering a new continuous improvement culture.

5S is a workplace organization methodology that uses a list of five Japanese words:

  • seiri (整理) = sort
  • seiton (整頓) = set in order
  • seisō (清掃) = shine
  • seiketsu (清潔) = standardize
  • shitsuke (躾) = sustain

5S is a framework that helps workers organize a work space for efficiency and effectiveness by identifying and storing the items used, maintaining the area and items, and sustaining the new organizational system.

A 5S implementation helps to define the first rules to eliminate waste and maintain an efficient, safe, and clean work environment.

Benefits of 5S

The benefits of executing a 5S program are vast, including:

  • Better visual management
  • Foster a “lean” culture
  • Employee Engagement enhancements
  • Improved quality
  • Efficiency gains
  • Boosted moral
  • Enhanced safety

More more on the benefits, consider checking out this blog:

Assessing the need and creating a business case

You are probably reading this article because you are interested in starting a 5S program in your facility. So we can assume you do not need to be “sold” on the benefits of 5S, but you may need to persuade others. If this is the case, you may want to consider creating a business case for your 5S program, which identifies the need and a cost/benefit analysis for the solution.

You can start by asking coworkers if they struggle to locate documents, tools and other resources. This article includes a valuable list of questions you can ask to establish if there is a need.

For the ROI case, you need to assess costs and benefits.

Costs can be relatively low if you want to deploy a paper form solutions. The cost is basically just the time to train, execute and audit.

The costs for deploying a digital solution may be a bit more, they offer a much better opportunity to deliver on the benefits. The Weever Starter plan is a great option to get you going because you can start with 5S Audits for only $199/month.

Although the benefits of 5S are vast, they are hard to quantify. Usually the best place to start is to consider what the objectives and goals of your company are and to align 5S benefits to that. For example, if “quality” is a key differentiator for your organization, imaging how 5S can help to enhance quality and then put it into a reasonable metric, i.e. “reduce quality defect events by 1 per week”. Calculate the ROI using that as a basis point.

5S Training

Once you have gained alignment, you can start implementing 5S by providing training to your staff to understand the system. This may be followed up with one-day sessions with each employee or team to ensure they are on the same page as far as implementation is concerned.

The best results for training usually occur by quickly reviewing the 5Ss and then executing a 5S on an actual workstation. Use small groups and ask for participation.

If you are not equipped to execute training, or you don't feel confident you can pull it off, you may want to consider hiring experts.

Implement your 3-day 5S Action Plan

After the training your are ready to implement your 5S action plan. So as to not overwhelm, the best practice is to execute this over a period of 3 days.

You will get the best results if you stagger the days by weeks, i.e. day one is on week 1, day two is a week later, and so on.

Day One - Sort, Store, Shine.

After the training, ask employees to optimize their workstations based on the first three 5S requirements by following these steps. Take a picture before and after for comparison.

  1. Sort: Separate required tools, materials, and instructions from those that are not needed. Remove everything that is not necessary from the work area.
  2. Store: Sort and organize all tools, equipment, files, data, material, and resources for quick, easy location, and use. Label all storage locations, tools, and equipment.
  3. Shine: Set new standards for cleanliness. Clean and remove all trash, grease, and dirt. Everything must be clean, tidy, and neatly put in its appropriate place. Cleanliness provides a safe workplace—and makes potential problems noticeable, e.g., equipment leaks, loose parts, missing guards, loose paperwork, or materials.

Day Two - Standardize

During the second session, employees should take the third picture and compare it to the first two shots.

Engage the workforce to systematically perform the first 3 steps daily, to maintain the workplace in perfect condition as a standard process. Establish schedules and set expectations for adherence.

Work together to define ways to standardize the improvements over time: organize cleaning schedules, define roles and responsibilities, and prepare written procedures or diagrams to help everyone remember what to do.

Day Three - Sustain

Make 5S part of your culture, and incorporate it into the corporate philosophy. Build organizational commitment so that 5S becomes one of your organizational values so that everyone develops 5S as a habit. Integrate the 5S methodology into the performance management system.

During this session, many organizations set up an audit schedule to check how the 5S principles are being met as well as to ensure the plan is moving forward. Audits can be conducted by supervisors or as peer-to-peer evaluations. You can learn more about 5S audit best practices here:


Digitize 5S Audits

Capture rich 5S audit data - including photos and eSignatures - with digital forms accessible on virtually any device. Manage follow-up workflows including assignments and automated notification. Understand who's on it and when it's due with real-time reports.

Get started for as low as Unlimited users. No Set Up or User Fees.

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Have a quick coffee with our team to learn more. 

Upgrade your 5S Program

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