wardell books

5S and Plant Design

5S and Plant Design

5S is a practical workplace organization method that all employees can do. Really, it is housekeeping. The more visual the better and the process should not have the negative connotation that “The Boss” is checking up on the floor-level employees. In fact, some audits should be conducted with personnel other than management and good audits should be a cause for celebration. Implementing the above standard immediately and thoroughly quickly strengthens company culture; pride quickly develops, encouraged by using high standards oh housekeeping as a strong feature of the company to show off to customer visits. Furthermore, 5S forms a logical sequence of progress: improve workplace organization by sorting and orderliness, then clean it and keep it clean. The 5 components of 5S are:

Sort It is a great way to begin implementing JIT in workplace teams; have employees gather into groups and actually catalogue everything that they use to get a job done and decide on things that can leave. Everything is evaluated that comes in contact with the production process; tools and toolboxes, materials, storage cabinets, cleaning supplies, etc. Get rid of everything that is not adding value.

Set In Order The remaining items must be organized for maximum ease of location and shortest access distance. The logic is simple; if things are put in the same place every time and located the shortest distance from where they are used, less time will be spent on non-value adding activities.

Shine Focuses on keeping items and workplace for which they are stored clean at all times. This concept should permeate all aspects of the production process; inside and outside of machines, the inventory storage area, desks, etc.

Standardize Create a standard system to let personnel know when an item is unneeded, something needs to be cleaned, something needs to be sorted, etc. The mode of communication should be clear and obvious such as colored lights, a system of symbols, etc.

Sustain This concept simply reiterates the need to continuously implement and improve the above concepts. This effort requires the cooperation and enthusiasm of all employees that fosters an attitude of pride, discipline and professionalism.


If you find any area in your business tends to get out of control and disorderly, try using the 5S methodology to bring control to the chaos.

In this chapter you should have designed, shared, and made a plan to review your:

  • Number and location of your facilities (as necessary).
  • Layout of your facilities (as necessary).
  • Activity Centres (as necessary).
  • Facility Maintenance and Cleaning System.
  • Facility Organized by means of 5S methodology.