How 5S Can Create Sustainable Improvements Across a Business

According to Wikipedia, 5S is a workplace organization method that uses a list of five Japanese words which translate to sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain. As more and more businesses look for ways to make their processes more efficient, 5S News is taking off as the benefits become clear; reducing waste, enhancing sustainability, and saving business resources.

With 5S being made up of five principles, the use of a few key 5S supplies and a systematic approach means the changes can be implemented over time to gradually see improvements across a business.


This principle aims to sort through the workplace and cut out excess materials, saving valuable space, getting rid of unnecessary clutter, and enhance safety for employees. By focusing on the elimination of waste, businesses can improve their sustainability and minimize their use of resources, separating the necessary goods from the unnecessary, and eliminating unused inventory, excess supplies, and faulty equipment.

Set in order

This principle comes after sorting is complete, consisting of organizing the remaining goods logically to enhance efficiency. From a sustainability perspective, setting in order creates a logical flow throughout a site so employees and vehicles can access what they need easily, reducing the use of energy and unnecessary transport. By cutting out the time employees need to spend hunting down the stock, equipment, or materials they need for their duty, the workplace can operate in a much more productive way.


Keeping the workplace clean and tidy, is bound to enhance safety and improve productivity, reducing the risk of hazards. By continually cleaning and maintaining the workplace, it in turn reduces the need for intense cleaning and maintenance, cutting back on the use of chemicals and the need to replace goods that were not taken care of. This principle also helps to promote a more positive work culture, encouraging workers to clean up after themselves and create a more pleasant workspace.


This principle helps to improve quality by creating standardized procedures throughout the workplace, reducing the risk of human error and inconsistency. By reflecting on existing processes and identifying areas for improvement, a business can find ways to help reduce the use of energy, water, and resources where possible. This approach not only improves sustainability, but is bound to lead to clear business results as waste, time, and money can be saved from updating wasteful processes.


Once the above steps have been completed, the final principle focuses on maintaining the changes. By sustaining the improvements achieved through sorting, setting in order, shining, and standardizing, organizations can continue to reduce waste over the long term, embedding the processes into the business culture. The business owner should regularly repeat the 5S cycle to identify any further areas which are proving wasteful or unsustainable, striving to keep improving.

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