The 5s System

About two weeks ago, I published a post about saving inspired by an article from the Entrepreneur magazine. Today, I talk about another article in the same issue (Jan-Feb 2010): Increase Workplace Efficiency- Organizing your workplace need not be a chore with 5s.      

A few days after reading this article, this was mentioned in the Performance Management Training series we were having at work. A week later, it was revealed that it was in fact a vital part of the training. We now have a 5s champion for our account! And of course it isn’t me. 5s has been practiced mainly by big corporations and although it probably started out in manufacturing, it is applicable to all industries. Our trainer mentioned that it was being used in the utilities company she used to work for and there are groups offering courses on the system and companies hire them to train their managers and employees.      


5s refers to five steps to achieve an organized workplace: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu and shitsuke. These are Japanese words so yes, the system was first developed in Japan to reduce cost. There are many variations to five S but the concept is just the same. It is a way of organizing and managing the workspace to increase efficiency and also to cut waste.      

1 SEIRI or SORT OUT – First step in the 5s system is to separate what is necessary from the unnecessary. It reduces downtime because it takes away obstructions in the workspace and lessens clutter.      

2 SEITON or SET IN ORDER – Once items have been red tagged for disposal or for storage, next comes the tedious task of organizing them. There should be labels on drawers, cabinets, and even folders. This makes it easier for people to find the information (or item) they need, and reminds every one of the proper place for everything.      

3 SEISO or SHINE OR POLISH – This part of the process entails keeping the work areas clean by regularly observing the order that was set in place in the previous step. It also involves making employees responsible for cleanliness.      

4 SEIKETSU or SYSTEMIZE/STANDARDIZE – The whole 5s system must be incorporated into the company’s core structure and programs. Regular audits with very clear criteria must be set, with a view for rewards or bonuses for employees and/or departments that make the target scores. This should help keep employees motivated in sustaining the 5s.      

5 SHITSUKE or SUSTAIN – In time, managers and employees will make it a habit of maintaining the established procedures. It is primarily management’s role to ensure the sustenance of the system by going through the cycle regularly, providing the needed funds to carry out the plans, and the bonuses to keep the employees motivated. And many companies have seen the value of investing in this system because the gains far outweigh any cost incurred.      

I could use the 5s in my personal life too. I can already think of at least two different aspects where I can run it: my room, and my computer desktop. I have so much clutter in both! Haha. Then why not organize my baking pantry too? Okay, I don’t actually have one, but I should!      

I’ll post updates about my 5s ventures here at home once I get around to actually doing them. Have you ever been late because you can’t find pieces of clothing in your own closet? Well I have, lots of times. My room could really use the 5S. 🙂      

Now, if you’re tired of me writing about losing weight and searching for the best tools that will help me in that aim, then STOP READING NOW 🙂 Have you tried reading reviews on weight loss pills, or maybe even of exercise equipment? Well I have, because I am mostly skeptical about such products. They help too, because for example, what do I know about atro phex ? I don’t think I can be comfortable taking those unless I know a little something about them. Remember the reading up I did about FitRight which was a product I took for a while with no clear results (the link takes you to a post I wrote about it). 🙁      

Oh well, maybe I need a coach, a personal fitness trainer. But to be credible, she has to have struggled with her weight in the past too and has now found the right balance she needed to stay fit. Too bad I can’t really afford one.