The 5S program refers to principles of personal and organizational well-being expressed in five Japanese words beginning with S. Each word represents an achievement in creating a dignified and safe place to work.

The 5s of the program are :

  1.  Seiri: Throw away the unnecessary
  2.  Seiton: Sort
  3.  Seiso: Clean
  4.  Seiketsu: Keep out of habit
  5.  Shitsuke: Discipline and multiplication

When our work environment is disorganized and dirty, as a natural response we feel harassed, the environment becomes unstimulating, we lose efficiency and our enthusiasm for work is reduced.

Seiri – Eliminate the unnecessary

Seiri means removing unnecessary items. All those who are not essential to carry out the activity at hand.

At home or work, in work activities, or in free time, we frequently collect items, tools, boxes with products, supplies, papers, books, and other personal items. We assume that we will need them for our next job and we do not believe it is possible to carry out the activity without them.

Thus, we create large warehouses of disorder in small spaces that reduce useful space, hinder circulation, reduce visibility and visual control of work, waste time searching for elements that may or may not be there, and lead to mistakes in the process. handling of materials or raw materials, all of which lead to a bad temper and on many occasions generate accidents.

The Seiri is simple: it consists of Separating the things that are useful from those that are not useful

Keep what is useful and eliminate the rest.

Seiri effects

  • Prepare the work areas for the development of autonomous maintenance actions, since the leaks, leaks, and contamination existing in the equipment can be easily seen and are frequently hidden by unnecessary elements that are found near the equipment.
See also  Just-in-time Production Philosophy

Seiton – order

Seiton consists of organizing the elements that we have classified as necessary so that they can be easily found, used, and returned to their place.

Once the unnecessary elements have been eliminated, during the seiri, a place is defined to locate those that we need frequently, identifying it to reduce the search time and facilitate the return after use. In summary:

A place for everything and everything in its place

SEITON Effects:

  •  Provides quick access to work items
  •  Avoid mistakes and risky actions
  •  Facilitates cleaning and maintenance
  •  Improves the presentation and aesthetics of the place
  •  Communicate responsibility and commitment to work
  •  Free up space.
  •  Makes the work environment pleasant
  •  Allows immediate visual control
  •  Reduce losses due to errors
  •  Reduce the time used in each activity
  •  Improves the avoids breakdowns care of the equipment.
  •  Improve personal productivity
  •  A group or company improves overall productivity

Seiso – clean

Seiso means to clean and prepare for use. It involves inspecting the equipment during the cleaning process to identify small or large operating problems: leaks, breakdowns, failures, or any type of defect or problem existing in the element. Many times it identifies useless elements that must be replaced, and many other times it induces them to be sent for repair.

Seiso Requires the identification of the sources of dirt, contamination, or defects to eliminate them. It makes the cleaning process effective and the work of the person involved efficient.

Seiso is more than cleaning:
Cleaning is inspection

SEISO Effects:

  •  Increases the useful life of the equipment
  •  Improves the physical and mental well-being of the worker.
  •  Allows you to identify faults easily and on time
  •  improve efficiency
  •  Reduce waste due to malfunction
  •  Improves the appearance of products
  •  Avoid losses due to dirt and contamination
See also  Just-in-time philosophy as an improved alternative for companies

Seiketsu – Hold

Seiketsu is to maintain the achievements achieved with the application of the first three “S”. If disposing of, tidying, and cleaning are not done continuously, the place will return to its old state.

And any custom is part of a group culture. It is nice to receive an item in good condition and satisfying to return it the same. It’s nice to find a friendly and pleasant place to leave it in the same way: it even causes you to return.

The opposite is aggressive and annoying. Although it allows a message that is the key to seiketsu:

Leave things the same or better than before using them

SEIKETSU effects

  •  Maintain a stimulating work environment that fills us with enthusiasm and leads us to efficiency.
  •  Strengthen personal satisfaction with the workplace
  •  Prepare people to take on bigger challenges
  •  Increase personal and organizational productivity

Shitsuke – Habit and multiplication

Shitsuke is a habit gained over time. The habit of improving the personal environment by applying for the 5S program. Shitsuke implies developing the strength of self-control, taking one’s future into one’s own hands.

Shitsuke is the silent example of one’s kind environment, it is the best consideration towards close people, who can feel the comfort, kindness, and attention given to them.

Shitsuke is the reflection on the different aspects of personal life, the application of the 5S to the emotional environment, and the use of time to make the people we love feel respect, comfort, kindness, attention, and warmth with the that they are considered.

my life in my hands


  •  It improves the respect of your being and others.
  •  Creates sensitivity, respect, and care toward the personal environment and the collective environment
  •  Let’s own the place
  •  Allows you to identify with the place
  •  makes the place attractive
  •  It makes it nice to arrive or return
  •  Renew personal satisfaction every day
See also  The 5s and production in the visual factory

Other dimensions of the 5s program

The power of the 5S program lies in the ease of executing and understanding it, which is why it is a wonderful tool to raise awareness of integral quality.

But beyond the beginning, the 5S program allows actions and reflections on other concepts of life. Each person can do their own, and surely they can even be contrary to each other.

In any case,

The longest path begins with the first step.

The phrase being obvious, it hides important keys:

  •  It will be faster if distractions are not allowed
  •  If attention is lost, the way is also lost
  •  The path can be as important as the goal.
  •  The road can also take us elsewhere

Simplify and focus

It is the foundation of the program, applicable to many of life’s activities.

With other reflections, it is less easy to agree:

It is necessary to establish rules, and even write them, it is convenient to follow them, but it is not necessary to respect them. They are there to be changed.

In other words, established habits and customs are comfortable, but they are not always the best.

Pleasant activities are carried out with enthusiasm, those that are not, require discipline. The former is enjoyed, and the latter is abbreviated.

In economics, resources are always scarce, and/or in times of crisis you have to go back to basics: simple seiri, only invest in what is necessary.

Reference: Lluis Cuatrecasas Arbós. Production organization and operations management: Current efficient and competitive management systems. Diaz de Santos Editions, 2012 M10 10 – 776 pages