Implementing 5s Principles in Your Workplace

Operational Excellence,

Companies often turn to the lean manufacturing system when they wish to eliminate waste.

The goal is to maximise customer value while maintaining a minimal inventory. Many companies find the easiest way to achieve this goal it to make use of the 5s lean principles or checklist, which work to reduce inefficiencies in a business that are the result of poor organisation and housekeeping. If you’re new to 5s you might want to discover what 5s is and why companies need it.

When the principles are put into place, companies find their facility is customer-ready at all times. Before this system can be put into place, however, business owners need to understand these principles, what benefits they will obtain when they put this system into place, what types of businesses benefit from use of the principles, and how the 5s Principles and lean methodology fit into the lean manufacturing system.


Lean principles 5s aren’t difficult to grasp once a person knows what they are.

  • The first step is to sort the work area and eliminate any items that are not needed, as this allows employees to see where changes need to be made. In addition, productivity increases and quality improves when unnecessary items are eliminated.
  • Next, straighten the area, organising everything that remains, and then shine the area.
  • To ensure the area stays this way, the employee needs to simplify and standardise the area, setting a schedule for regular maintenance and cleaning.
  • Finally, it is time to sustain and make the five principles a regular part of life through the use of a regular maintenance system.


Businesses wishing to learn more about 5s principles and implementation find there are numerous benefits to making use of the system. Safety improves along with employee morale and defect rates drop. Costs decrease when the principles are implemented, assets are better utilised, and equipment becomes available more frequently. Production flexibility and agility increase, and the company’s image improves in the eyes of management, employees, customers, and suppliers. The entire atmosphere within the workplace changes when the principles are consistently adhered to.


Lean manufacturing principles (including 5s) benefit every type of business, although quite a few business owners continue to believe they are only for manufacturing companies. Retail store owners and power plants, television stations and hospitals find using the principles benefits them also, and the same is true of numerous other companies. In addition, every area of a business benefits from using the principles, so one can improve efficiencies across the board. As the cost of implementing the principles can be quite small, any business can try the system to see how it works for them, spending as much or as little as they feel comfortable with until they see how the system works and what benefits they obtain.


The lean manufacturing system functions to eliminate waste while increasing value. The 5s Principles are a tool of this system, and this tool is used in conjunction with Kaizen, TPM, Kanban and other lean manufacturing techniques to maximise the efficiency of the workplace. Many opt to start with the 5s principles when implementing a program, as they are easy to use and create an organised space employees can build on as other portions of the system are implemented.

Every company can begin implementing these principles today, as businesses do not need to spend any money to remove items that are no longer needed. Once these items are gone, it becomes easier to see how productivity increases and the system provides the motivation companies need to move forward with the rest of the program.

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