The Five S’s of Workplace Organisation


Need a way to organise your work and your buttons? You may want to take a look at the Five S model.

Five S is a methodology used for Workplace Organisation. It originated in Japan in the Lean Business World. The Core Concept of Lean is to maximise customer value and minimise waste. The focus is on optimizing the flow of products and services through an organisation bringing them to the customers as efficiently as possible.

The Five S’s Model helps create good habits of cleanliness (for those of you who tend to be dirty) Order (for those of you who tend towards chaos) and Elimination (for the hoarders amoung you) It is a process we could all learn from and it has some cool Japanese words associated with it. Not pointing out the one that my kids would giggle at!

Have a read, take some tips and apply them in your own life and business.

Sort (SEIRI)

Take a look at the tools, materials, equipment and information you need to do your job. Separate them into frequency used. Always, Sometimes, Never. Remove unnecessary items and dispose of them properly. Recycle or reuse. Prevent the accumulation of more stuff by only keeping what is essential to complete your job. Eliminate any obstacles to doing your work effectively. When you manage to remove the unnecessary problems, annoyances in workflow are reduced, communications are improved, product quality is increased and productivity is enhanced. You will be set up to change the world!

Set in Order (SEITON)

This is the Organisation piece. Arrange items so that they are easy to find. Put most used items in nearest proximity. This step will prevent loss and waste of time looking for items needed. Make workflow smooth and easy. Arrange folders and electronic folders in a way that makes the information easy to find. Ensure everything is labelled effectively.

Shine (SEISO)

Keep things in order by keeping things clean and tidy. Wash your Face, make your workplace shine. Remove rubbish and don’t let things accumulated. Make sure all tools are clean and safe and that all documents are kept in order and are up to date. make sure equipment that requires servicing is kept serviced.

Standardise (SEIKETSU)

This step is the standardisation of the previous three ensuring that they first three steps become good habits that will always be maintained. Maintain everything clean and organised. Keep to high standards created and strengthen the approach daily. This step aims to prompt preventative thinking and find ways for stopping the problems of disorder and clutter occurring.

Sustain (SHITSUKE)

The fifth pillar involves making sure you stick with it. No matter how well implemented the first four pillars are, the 5s system will not work long term without a commitment to longer term sustainment. Keeping up the good work is always the biggest challenge but like all good habits if you can commit to doing it for a couple of months you will find it will eventually become automated.

Just like cracking open a can of Guinness with a rugby match.

Let me know if you have your own Five S’s for preventing chaos and disorder in your life.

Comments (1)

Great tips! I think I struggle most with Standardise. I’m great at cleaning up but then I let the paper stacks pile up again. I guess I need to implement a process for filing!

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