5S Methodology: How to Build a Successful 5S Program

Published on
February 4, 2022 at 10:29:19 AM PST February 4, 2022 at 10:29:19 AM PSTth, February 4, 2022 at 10:29:19 AM PST

Here's What You Need to Know for a Successful 5S Program

The 5S program has become a widely used system for many production plants worldwide with many success stories proving the effectiveness of the concept. Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain, known as the 5S’s help reduce costs, reduce space for storage, improve maintenance, safety, quality and overall efficiency for a both producer and consumer.


Some companies find the program a challenge and do not see the desired result they were hoping for. This isn’t because the system does not work, as 5S has proven its benefits countless times, but rather because of plants not understanding how to implement and use it. Most agree that starting small and maintaining top management support throughout, is key. To get full benefit of 5S and prevent repeated mistakes in your plant – here is everything you need to know.


Understanding 5S:

Knowledge is power and this certainly applies to the 5S implementation & maintenance. Every person involved throughout the entire production process, should be informed and be familiar with 5 steps in detail. Without proper training on what 5S is, it will be a broken system from the start.

To ensure successful implementation, the first step would be to create a team of employees who will be dedicated to the implementation. They should be highly trained and have an in-depth knowledge of the 5S system. This team will be responsible for training all other staff and oversee the implementation. Keep communication clear – holding regular meetings to track progress at every level and using visual signage to remind all employees of the 5S rules/regulations.


Managers need to spend time on the production floor:

To have a successful 5S program that produces results, managers and people at the top of the implementation team need to spend time physically on the plant floor. Your 5S team should be engaging with the factory floor employees frequently. This will allow managers to identify where something may be off within the system. Once the problem has been identified, corrective action can then go into effect creating an efficiently run plant & and a culture of continuous improvement at all levels of the organization.


Implement all 5 steps:

It is imperative that all 5 steps are put into effect for the full benefits of the program to show. Each step has its own effect, but all 5 need to be implemented to get the results you are looking for. To prevent only some steps being used, create a detailed plan of how each 5S will apply to your workplace. You will need to have a dedicated member/s to ensure these detailed plans are maintained.


Key information in implementing 5S in Food Production:

Floor Mapping

Create a map of your current processes, from how information is passed from person to person, to how tools and materials are moved throughout the factory. Have employees pitch better routes and plans that’ll create a more efficient space.

Safety Signs and Floor Marking

Signage and floor marking tape are great tools to minimize risk and create a more efficient space. Use safety signs to warn of hazards, and mark out routes, directions, and danger zones using floor tape.

Red Tagging

Red tags should be made available to all employees. These can be used to mark tools that they consider to be unnecessary. These can then be moved to a separate area that’s out of the way of production. If no one can argue that the item is needed, it can be disposed of.

Checking Process

Use a checking process to maintain the 5S system. This is an easy way to ensure everything that should be done is done, such as maintaining equipment or regularly auditing waste in the workspace.


(visual card or signboard in Japanese) is a scheduling system for lean manufacturing and just-in-time manufacturing (JIT). Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota, developed kanban to improve manufacturing efficiency. Kanban is one of the Lean tools designed to reduce the idle time in a production process. The main idea behind the Kanban system is to deliver what the process needs exactly when it needs it. At Amerisan we have a number of product to support this from visual signs & systems for production supplies through to PPE GMP boards.

Properly following the 5S system will create a much more efficient and cost-effective food production facility. For further advise or questions please contact us at clientcare@amerisan.com. We will have a 5S expert reach out to you as soon as possible!