How To: Implement 5S

Lean manufacturing is one of the most prominent trends in our industry. A key component of any successful lean operation is the implementation of 5S. 5S is a workplace organizational philosophy that makes operations cleaner, safer and, most importantly, more efficient. 5S is a Japanese term that stands for Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke. As we’ve talked about in this blog, efficiency is a priority at UNEX and all of our products and services are geared toward making your operations run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Here is a quick “How To” on implementing 5S at your workstation.


1. Seiri (Sort) Start by removing all items from your work area. Inspect the equipment and identify those items that are critical to the success of the function performed at the workstation. Eliminate any duplicates, unnecessary equipment, infrequently used items, and trash. Identify the non-essential items as either waste or “valuable but not critical.” Store the non-critical items outside of the workstation area. 2. Seiton (Set) Whatever equipment is deemed critical to the operation must now be organized. Assign positions for all equipment, work in progress and raw materials, keeping ease of reach, identification and proximity to work surface in mind as you do. The goal is to maximize the efficiency of the workstation layout. On a smaller scale, it’s the same concept as warehouse layout. The most frequently used tools should be the most convenient to grab. 3. Seiso (Shine) A clean workspace is a productive workspace, and Seiso literally means “to clean or shine.” Clean the floors, the walls and the equipment, and ensure all items are restored to their designated place. Make sure the workstation is well lit. This should be a part of your daily tasks, and should not be postponed until idle time is available. 4. Seiketsu (Standardize) Make the previous three S’s part of your standard procedures each day. Implement them with the help of signs, banners, shadow boards, tool holders, etc. Make sure all workers understand their responsibilities and are empowered to perform all of the tasks. 5. Shitsuke (Sustain) Implementing these steps is a continuous process. It is important to ensure that they are done each day to prevent slipping into old habits. Commit to performing these steps every shift and make sure that any changes to your product or process are compensated for at your workstation and problems are alleviated as quickly as they are created.

When implemented correctly, a 5S program is a safe, lean and clean workstation. It’s easy to spot missing tools, empty flow racks, safety hazards and overproduction. Workflow is simplified and nonconformities are easily identified. You’ll also have the satisfaction of working in an environment that you’ve taken ownership of, thoroughly cleaned, organized, optimized and maintained. To find out more about how UNEX can help you implement 5S practices in your operation, contact a Pickologist here or give us a buzz at 1-800-334-UNEX.


Unex Logo

UNEX Manufacturing, Inc.
691 New Hampshire Avenue
Lakewood, NJ 08701

Join Newsletter