5S Implementation

What is 5S Implementation?

5S is one of the first techniques that can be utilized to develop a culture of continuous improvement in a company. A 5S implementation assists in defining the basic guidelines for waste elimination and maintaining an efficient, safe, and clean work environment.

Everyone can use the 5S methodology right away. It may be deployed globally in all types of businesses, from manufacturing facilities to offices, from tiny firms to giant multinational corporations — and in both the private and governmental sectors. Its ease of use, practicality and visual appeal make it an appealing tool for operators, directors, and customers alike.

Perhaps the 5S methodology is underappreciated when compared to other Lean Construction methods. However, it contributes to the reduction and elimination of the eight wastes (overproduction, inventory, transportation, motion, waiting, defects, over-processing, and non-utilized creativity); it increases people’s involvement, teamwork, morale, health, and safety; it reduces costs, variability, and uncertainty; and it assists in laying the groundwork for the implementation of Lean Construction in any company or project.

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The simple and practical 5S implementation methodology brings change in mind-set and enhanced accountability at the all the levels especially at the workmen level at the shop floor. 5S implementation needs systematic and practical approach with an objective of developing 5S culture throughout the organization. There are 5 phases in 5S technique as mentioned below:

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  • Initial visit & project kick off meeting
  • 5S team formation
  • The initial visit of the plant
  • Distribution of plants in different zones
  • 1S – Sorting
  • 2S – Set in order
  • 3S – Shine
  • 4S – Standardize
  • 5S – Sustain
  • 5S Audit with the scope of improvements
  • Corrective actions on the scope of improvements
  • Review of the corrective actions

The Red Tag is the tag attached to the materials which is too kept in the Red Tag Area. The Red Tag consist of the information which mentions the details related to the material identified and by whom it is identified & the duration to hold the material in the Red Tag Area.

The Red Tag area or Zone is the defined location within the organization premises where the red tag materials are kept for a defined time before removing the red tag item out of the organization. The red tag area can be of two types:

  1. Local Red Tag Area: Each department/ Zones/ Areas can have an individual Red Tag Area to avoid mix up of the items with other areas.

Central Red Tag Area: One Red Tag area for the entire organization.

  • The very first step of the 5S implementation is “Seiri” which translates to sorting. The goal of the sorting step is to sort the materials available in the organization. This activity is conducted by the individual 5S leader, who prepares the list of the materials available at his/her zone. This list is prepared in excel capturing the other details such as the quantity, usage frequency, shelf life, storage conditions needed, etc. There are few questions which need to be asked in order to understand the need for materials in the workplace.
    1. Whether the item in needed at the workplace?
    2. If needed, is it needed at the workplace in this quantity?

    If needed, is it required that frequently?

After the sorting of the unwanted materials, the next step that falls in line is to set the sorted materials in order. The Set In Order activity is done in such a way that the required materials are easily visible and can be easily found by anyone. The concept of the Set in order can be summarized as “A place for everything & everything in its place for ease of operation”. The most frequently used items are stored near the workplace whereas less frequently used can be kept far from the workplace area. This eliminates the searching waste & motion waste due to easy access & availability of the required item within the range of the workplace.

The Shine activity is in which it is stressed upon to keep everything clean & swept. The Cleaning activity done on daily basis helps to identify the potential problems in the workplace, so that a prompt corrective actions can be taken on it. By carrying shine activity, it is ensured that the regular maintenance is also done of the machines & equipment’s which helps to prevent major breakdowns. Therefore, facilitating less wastage of time & profit due to machine stoppage.

This Standardization activity of the 5S engages the workforce to ensure systematic performing of the previous 3S activities by building a strong set of procedures. This activity can only be performed which the first 3S are very well maintained. Standardize helps to systemize what happened during the first 3S & turns this effort into a regular practice. Standardization doesn’t only limit to preparing the procedures & checklist it also focuses on the arrangement of the machines & types of equipment in order to create a uniform workplace by having a standard operating system thereby making it easy to adapt & minimizing the loss of time.

Once the 5S system is implemented, the major task is to make this one-time effort into a regular habit, this is ensured by the Sustain activity. The Sustain activity ensures the continuous implementation & improvement of the 5S activity. Sustain activity focuses on creating awareness among the existing workforce as well as newcomers. This is done by conducting regular training & having a visual management system demonstrating the Standard Operating Procedures, Do’s & Don’ts, etc. Therefore, creating awareness & facilitating the sustenance of the 5S system.

The zone leader reviews the 5S audit report for each zone. The potential for improvement is investigated, and corrective steps are taken. It is vital to choose corrective activities that are long-term rather than short-term.

The 5S is applicable to all organizations irrespective of their size & operations.

  • Improved Efficiency of the organizations.
  • Reduction in Delays.
  • High Quality.
  • Improved Productivity.
  • Enhanced Safety.
  • A morale boost of employees.
  • Organization’s image building.
  • Improved machine uptime.
  • Identification of abnormalities.
  • More space created.
  • Clean & Pleasant environment.
  • Elimination of wastes.

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