Free Lean Six Sigma Tools

Lean 5S – Cleanliness and Orderliness

There are hundreds of Lean Six Sigma tools.  In our experience, learning the Basic Lean tools such as 5S first provides a solid foundation for learning the other tools.  Additionally, 5S allows individuals and organizations to start building good Lean Six Sigma discipline and habits.

5S denotes five S’s used as a reminder to help us keep our workplaces clean and orderly.

Please understand all of the 5S principles can be applied to both physical and digital environments. 

Derived from five Japanese words, they have been translated into English as:

  • Sort
  • Set In Order (Straighten)
  • Shine
  • Standardize
  • Sustain

First, we sort out (remove) things not needed to perform the work in our immediate work area. This reduces clutter, opportunity for errors and potential safety issues. Frees up space to lay out work in a flow.

Second, we set things in order — a place for everything and everything in its place (trays, bins, folders, shadow boxes, colored tape floor marking, etc.).

Third, we keep things shined, swept, dusted. Clean up! This can be physical or digital.

Fourth, we standardize how we do work. This creates “flow” so that work is more organized; it also makes it easier for people to do their jobs and for others to learn (Examples: standard work, leader standard work, SOPs).  Standards provide us a baseline upon which we can make improvements.

Finally, we sustain these 4 S’s through the discipline of daily management, self-policing and by providing rewards and consequences to encourage adherence.