Create Inspiring Workplaces with 5S

5S is one of the most widely implemented of all World Class Operational Excellence techniques.

At the heart of 5S lies the principle ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’.

The term 5S refers to a set of techniques for organisations which provide a systematic approach to housekeeping. Originating in Japan the 5S philosophy aims to simplify the work environment, reduce waste and nonvalue activity while improving quality, efficiency and safety.

I would like to suggest that 5S – in your company Stands for: –


(Japanese – Seiri)

Clear the Clutter

 1. Strip

The first step of 5S focuses on eliminating unnecessary items from the workplace. Most companies divide the work area into zones and assign responsibility to team members. Discarded items are identified and either scrapped, freeing up valuable space or stored more effectively.

Items that are not needed to complete the job are moved away from the word area and a system called red tagging can determine how best to deal with these. Each item is dated on its red tag and, after a designated period, if it has not been used the company may decide to sell it, upcycle it or scrap it.

The impact on the workplace can be immediate really stimulating the Feel-good factor – pride.


(Japanese – Seiton)

Set in Order. Organize

2. Sort

The second step focuses on effective storage. Team members ask themselves what they need to do the job, where these items should be located and how many items will be needed. Numerous strategies can then be adopted to improve storage. For example, outlining work areas and locations (Yes Yes Yes) and providing shadow boards.

Modular shelving and cabinets can also make it easier for team members to understand and follow storage guidelines.  For small companies, the benefits of 5S are dramatic. Since introducing 5S many companies report productivity improvements of 300% (quote from The Manufacturer Mag Article).

In 2005 Flowcrete’s survey of all UK employees estimated 30% time wasted through inefficiency and not being able to locate items (both physical and digital).


(Japanese – Seiso)

Clean and Shine – Make neat and Tidy

3. Shine

The third S involves cleaning the work area thoroughly with daily follow-up cleaning to sustain improvement. People are thought to be happier and more productive working in clean, bright environments, but there are practical elements as well.

Equipment is immediately ready for use. Health and Safety is improved and equipment problems such as water or dust leaks can be identified and remedied earlier before they contribute to downtime (more cleaning).

It isn’t enough to set standards and just expect them to be met’

‘in a busy working environment and you need to build in time for your teams to carry out the cleaning procedures. We set aside 15 mins at the end of each day. Whatever the business requirements, this cleaning period still applies, you can sustain standards and enthusiasm for your workspace.


(Japanese – Seiketsu)

Discipline – Standardize

4. Standardize

The fourth step of 5S concentrates on standardising best practice with a formal, vigorous review programme to retain standards.

Visual benchmarks help team members understand the required standards.  Create a large display area in the team zone devoted to 5S. Erect photographs – one for each 5S Zone – to show how the work areas are expected to look. During introduction, new employees cover 5S principles along side Health and Safety Guidelines etc.

The implication is that 5S is a mandatory part of working practice not =just an option. Over the years 5S will become completely self –managing

In many companies, team members audit one another’s ‘zones to maintain standards. The first 5S step (Strip) is often undertaken periodically – usually monthly or quarterly.


(Japanese – Shitsuke)

Ongoing Improvement

5. Sustain

The fifth S can be the most difficult one to implement and achieve as it concerns making the 5S system a part of life and a driver for ongoing development.

5S may or may not, also be integrated into a broader program of continuous improvement.

5S is to be kept deliberately as a stand alone to differentiate the unchanging standards required for housekeeping from the ever- changing requirements of continuous improvement programme.


I recommend strongly that you implement 5S in your company. This needs to be taken seriously and the visible changes provide an immediate impetus for everyone involved – really injecting the feelgood factor in team and your customers will notice it.

5S is a simple concept, easily understood and implemented without large outlay or disruption to working practices. Yet, the principles are equally applicable across all Café, serving zone, kitchen, therapy room, events area and office environments and can be scaled down to the smallest area and up to the most any size zone. 

5 S is a must have for all Companies.

5S would be amazing for your company.



Sing and Celebrate your Success

Sing – the 5 S Song

OK we are different we have an extra s … i.e. 5 plus …

Extra Special S stands for

Sing and Celebrate

We can See Clearly Now

We can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
We can see all obstacles in our way
Gone are the dark clouds that had us blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

We think we can make it now, the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow we’ve been prayin? for
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

Look all around, there’s nothin? but blue skies
Look straight ahead, nothin? but blue skies

We can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
We can see all obstacles in our way
Gone are the dark clouds that had us blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

What you need to do to successfully implement 5S.

There are four key requirements for successful 5S: –

Firstly, involve the whole team and allocate zone teams and ask their opinion.

Secondly embody the ideas of the teams in the routines for driving 5S.

Thirdly team give feedback on the results of what has been achieved.

Lastly build in time to achieve and exceed the results and encourage team to sing the 5S Song.


I believe 5 S should develop into a Mandatory Requirement of companies .

I really recommend you all implement this.

Hope you love this idea.


It is great to start this with the opening of a new business venture , set standards in each area, create shadow boards or zones so you know where every thing is and all your team do to.  i.e. all  important items you need all the time and not so important items too  i.e… pens, paper, scissors, etc.. So no loss in time searching for things.


Ok over and out for now .

Lots of love from


Dr. Dawn Gibbins MBE

Champion Of Change

Healthy Happy Hub Ltd


Remember my old business was a manufacturer and it was like making food mixing recipes together to make our flooring products –

So if you are a maker – then I highly recommend you implement 5S