5S is the name of a workplace organization methodology that uses a list of five Japanese words which are:
Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke
The list describes how to organize a work space for efficiency and effectiveness by identifying and storing the items used, maintaining the area and items, and sustaining the new order. The decision-making process usually comes from a dialogue about standardization which builds a clear understanding among employees of how work should be done. It also instills ownership of the process in each employee.
Sorting ( Seiri )
Eliminate all unnecessary tools, parts, and instructions. Go through all tools, materials, and so forth in the plant and work area. Keep only essential items and eliminate what is not required, prioritizing things per requirements and keeping them in easily-accessible places. Everything else is stored or discarded
Straightening or setting in order / stabilize ( Seiton )
There should be a place for everything and everything should be in its place. The place for each item should be clearly labeled or demarcated. Items should be arranged in a manner that promotes efficient work flow, with equipment used most often being the most easily accessible. Workers should not have to bend repetitively to access materials. Each tool, part, supply, or piece of equipment should be kept close to where it will be used – in other words, straightening the flow path. Seiton is one of the features that distinguishes 5S from "standardized cleanup".
Sweeping or shining or cleanliness / systematic cleaning ( Seiso )
Clean the workspace and all equipment, and keep it clean, tidy and organized. At the end of each shift, clean the work area and be sure everything is restored to its place. This makes it easy to know what goes where and ensures that everything is where it belongs. Spills, leaks, and other messes also then become a visual signal for equipment or process steps that need attention. A key point is that maintaining cleanliness should be part of the daily work – not an occasional activity initiated when things get too messy.
Standardizing ( Seiketsu )
Work practices should be consistent and standardized. All work stations for a particular job should be identical. All employees doing the same job should be able to work in any station with the same tools that are in the same location in every station. Everyone should know exactly what his or her responsibilities are for adhering to the first 3 S's
Sustaining the discipline or self-discipline ( Shitsuke )
Maintain and review standards. Once the previous 4 S's have been established, they become the new way to operate. Maintain focus on this new way and do not allow a gradual decline back to the old ways. While thinking about the new way, also be thinking about yet better ways. When an issue arises such as a suggested improvement, a new way of working, a new tool or a new output requirement, review the first 4 S's and make changes as appropriate