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topic 12190

The '5s' system: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke


Q. Can you tell me what is '5s' and also can you tell me about the advantages when we follow the 5s? Why does a company want to use the 5s and how does it apply and who starts the 5s?

jays khor
Universiti malaysia Sabah - Penang. Malaysia.

"5 Pillars of the Visual Workplace"
by Hiroyuki Hirano

from Abe Books
info on Amazon


A. I think you'll have to get some form of textbook for a full explanation but the 5 S's are as follows

1. Seiri - Translates to Organisation
2. Seiton - Translates to Orderliness
3. Seiso - Translates to cleanliness
4. Seiketsu - Translates to Standardised cleanup
5. Shitsuke - Translates to Discipline

Lot of words for keeping the workplace tidy and organised! Comes from 5 Pillars of the Visual Workplace by Hiroyuki Hirano. Regards,

Richard Guise
- Lowestoft, U.K.


A. Hello Jays,

5S is a widely practised in Japan. It is actually Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke. In English it translates to Organisation, Neatness, Cleaning , Standardization and Discipline. It basically improves physical environment and the thinking process.

For more information, try

Good Luck,

Cheah Sin Kooi
- Penang, Malaysia

A. I did a quick search on this site's search engine, and it looks like letter 3545 applies to what you're asking about. For more substantial information, you might search the web for some books on the subject.

James Davila
- Dayton, Ohio


A. The Basics Of The '5-S' Practice

A brief introduction to "5-S":

The "5-S" practice is a well-recognized methodology used by the Japanese to improve the work environment. A well-recognized methodology to improve work environment, the concept is fast catching up in many western countries. It has now evolved into a formal technique, which the Japanese believe is useful not just for improving the physical environment, but also for improving Total Quality Management (TQM) processes as well. Many everyday problems could be solved through adoption of this practice. It is also seen that many companies have included a few aspects of the "5-S" in their routine processes without being aware of its existence as a formal technique. In fact, the "5-S" can be applied to activities in all walks of life.

What does "5-S" stand for? The term "5-S" represents five words in Japanese namely, Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke. The English equivalents for these are Structurise, Systemize, Sanitize, Standardize and Self-Discipline. In other words, these "5-S" terms mean Organization, Neatness, Cleaning, Standardization and Discipline.

Organization (Seiri)

Organization is about sorting items (like tools, parts and materials), which are essential for a job from those that are not. Efforts should be made to select only the vital few and place them at convenient locations. The essence of organization is defined by:

Discard unwanted things
Organize the storage of parts, files and other items
Deal with the causes of defects, noise and leaks
Treat defects, leaks and breakages
Aim for the policy of "one is best" ---one-location file, one-stop service for customers, etc.,
Neatness (Seiton)

Neatness determines the rate at which things can be located or placed. It eliminates the time wasted in locating and placing things in an organization. In simple terms, it emphasizes on:

Clearly designated names and places
Functional placement of parts, tools and materials
Quick (30-second) and easy retrieval of documents, parts and tools
Neat and easy-to-read notice boards (with special attention to removal of old and obsolete boards)
Filing standards and controls
Zoning and placement marks
Arrangement for first-in, first out
Cleaning (Seiso)

In any organization, cleaning involves delegating individual areas of responsibility. Every individual should be thoroughly aware of his duties and responsibilities. In doing this, it is important that all assignments be absolutely clear and that there are no undefined, unallocated, or grey areas. This can be done by:

Assigning individual cleaning responsibilities
Adopting simple methods for cleaning and inspection
Regular cleaning activities
Cleaning even the less-noticed places
Standardization (Seiketsu)

This emphasizes strict and continual maintenance of organization, cleanliness and neatness. It includes personal and environmental cleanliness. It also implies standardizing the principles of "5-S" practice. By maintaining standardized conditions using visual management, employees are motivated to act fast in any circumstance. This necessitates:

Certification of inspections using labels, tags, etc.,
"Danger" warning marks and signs
Colour coding of files, pipes and containers
Responsibility labels
Preventing noise and vibrations
Directional markings on pipes and gangways
Discipline (Shitsuke)

Discipline involves instilling the ability of doing things as per the defined rules and regulations. This helps in building good habits like framing and following rules. Discipline, an integral part of industrial safety emphasizes on:

Following safety rules
Wearing safety helmets, gloves, shoes while at work
Executing individual responsibilities
Good communication practices
Practicing dealing with emergencies
Checking and following "5-S" practices always

Many successful organizations found that by developing a high quality work environment and instilling discipline in the form of procedures and work instructions, the employees devoted more energy and time to achieve results. The '5-S practice' has now become a highly appreciated technique in business, which not only helps to impress the customers but also to establish effective quality processes for good services and products.

Manish jain
- Hyderabad, India


What are the advantages and disadvantages of 5's and how we apply it information technology. How it related to the productivity management.

Rasika Samarakoon
information technology research industry - Colombo, Sri Lanka


According to 5S practices my personal feeling is that to implement 5S you need to change your attitude. Specially the self discipline!

Dilshan De Silva
- Colombo, Sri Lanka


Dear Sir,

Already we are 3rd place in Sri Lanka (2003) award of 5s, also we have applied this time again for 5s award & hoping to get 1st place this time in Sri Lanka. therefore please give me some 5s posters to post in my finishing area, amp;& kindly advise & give me some information for implement my finishing area, also send me 5s words from Japanese letter.

Thanks & Regards,

finishing member of Garment Industry - AVISSAWELLA, WESTERN PROVINCE, SRI LANKA

  -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

I'm a HR executive trainee and as part of our company's initiatives, we are planning to implement 5S.Would really help if I could get information on how I should go about it. Also some resources on the concept, implementation methods and the role of HR in this process, would be of much help. Thank you.

Nina George
Power generation - India

"The 5S Desktop (PC) Training Set"
by Buys, Babon & Tapping

from Abe Books
info on Amazon


Hello all,

All of you who have already implemented 5S and are rating high in competitiveness, please send me some of your organization pictures if possible showing the 5S working.

I am planning to implement 5S in my organization and I think showing my employees visually as to how 5S is helping other facilities in other countries will make them believe in this system.


Sharmila Rao
Pharmaceutical Packaging Industry - Pennsauken, New Jersey, US


can any one enlighten me about how to conduct effective audit of five s implementation in a work place? We have recently started 5 s implementation in our company.


Vishwas H Watwe
electronic manufacturing services - Aurangabad, Maharashtra State India


Hello Vishwas. I think that Manish offered a very nice posting that might help you, but I don't think anyone could possibly offer an answer for you short enough to be appropriate to an internet forum. You need a book for that subject and there are a number of them. Good luck.

Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


The best way to complete a 5s audit is to have the people on the shop floor, office or any working environment to carry out the audit themselves with assistance, let them make a standard for the area but coach them into where they need to be going for improving the standards. don't forget the people doing the job know the best way to do it.

Trevor Palmer
- UK

April 21, 2008

Japanese are known for being the diligent and disciplined people on earth. One of their standards for keeping their values is the 5S, or the Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke. Of the 5 values, Shitsuke is the most interesting.

We would like to know more about Shitsuke, and the advantages if these values are kept always in an organization. Maybe a group activity also can help, in order these Japanese Values can be maintained.

Aloha Diaz
just searching some nice topics - Manila, Philippines

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