5S Week on the Lean Blog


Jamie's Earlier 5S Column

In honor of our new Sponsor, The 5S Store, this is “5S Week” on the Lean Blog. We'll feature commentary from our bloggers on 5S and invite you to share your 5S success stories (or frustrations). If you need 5S supplies and materials, check out our sponsor.

Check back later today for some commentary on a doozy of a 5S story from the UK.

For now, check out a column Jamie Flinchbaugh wrote on 5S last June.

There are different translations of the Japanese 5S terms: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke. From now on, avoid the Japanese words. They can be translated as:

  • Sort — get rid of non-essential items, make sure most frequently used items are close by
  • Store — “a place for everything and everything in its place”
  • Shine — keep things clean so you can tell when problems occur
  • Standardize — establish “standard work” for housekeeping and organization
  • Sustain — drive continuous improvement in your process

A 5S program alone is not lean. 5S is not just about looking clean and tidy for tours. 5S is not about putting tape around everything. There will be more details about 5S here on the Lean Blog this week.


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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