5s Methodology

Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely.

I’m a fan of Japanese work ethic and their concepts of (amongst others)

The pursuit of efficiency and perfection is appealing, effective and provides a framework for us to all improve. Being efficient and seeking to improve is inherently fulfilling and helps to make every day more fun.

To concept of 5s is one of the most practical as it drills down into detail the steps required to make it work. There are five 5S phases: They can be translated from the Japanese as “sort”, “straighten”, “shine”, “standardise”, and “sustain”.

When you read the below, consider how this could translate into your own life, your job, your business, your home- what principles could you utilise to be more effective and more fulfilled?


整理 (Sort)

  • Remove unnecessary items and dispose of them properly
  • Make work easier by eliminating obstacles.
  • Reduce chance of being disturbed with unnecessary items
  • Prevent accumulation of unnecessary items
  • Evaluate necessary items with regard to cost or other factors
  • Remove all parts not in use
  • Segregate unwanted material from the workplace
  • Need fully skilled supervisor for checking on regular basis
  • Don’t put unnecessary items at the workplace & define a red-tagged area to keep those unnecessary items
  • Waste removal


整頓 (arrange)

  • Can also be translated as “set in order”, “straighten”, or “streamline”
  • Arrange all necessary items so they can be easily selected for use
  • Prevent loss and waste of time
  • Make it easy to find and pick up necessary items
  • Ensure first-come-first-served basis
  • Make workflow smooth and easy
  • All above work should be done on regular basis


清掃 (Shine)

  • Can also be translated as “sweep”, “sanitize”, or “scrub”
  • Clean your workplace completely
  • Use cleaning as inspection
  • Prevent machinery and equipment deterioration
  • Keep workplace safe and easy to work
  • Keep work place clean and pleasing to work in
  • When in place anyone not familiar to the environment must be able to detect problems in 5 seconds within 50 feet.


清潔 (Standardize)

  • Standardize the best practices in the work area.
  • Maintain high standards of housekeeping and workplace organization at all times.
  • Maintain orderliness. Maintain everything in order and according to its standard.
  • Everything in its right place.
  • Every process has a standard.


躾 (Sustain)

  • To keep in working order
  • Also translates as “do without being told”
  • Perform regular audits
  • Training and Discipline
  • Training is goal oriented process. Its resulting feedback is necessary monthly

Find out more here.