5S Lean Part 1: Sort & Set In Order

5S Lean Part 1: Sort & Set In Order
5S Lean Part 1: Sort & Set In Order teaser

01 Nov 2019

1S - Sorting – Seiri

The first step in 5S is to “sort” or figure out what materials or tools are unnecessary for getting the job done. This way inefficiencies by way of outdated equipment, defective tools, or unused plant are discarded as they are deemed non-essential.

A business can determine how often they use tools by using the “red tagging” technique. Figure out what tools are used on a daily, weekly, monthly, or “never” basis. The “red tagged” items –are items that need to undergo verification before action is taken.

The underlying method is to reduce lost productivity in workers looking for items, as the number of total items is reduced. It also reduces the chance of worker distraction by looking for or thinking about redundant items. Other flow-on effects are simplified inspection, an increase of useable space for other functions, and an increase in safety by elimination of obstacles or the chance of tools being left out.

2S -Setting in Order –Seiton

Setting in order is the principle of making workflow smooth an easy. This means placing all necessary items in their optimal place to fulfil their function.

The way to decide how to set things in order is to think of it as “visual management” –managing items by thinking about what items to position, their quantity, and where to place them.

Setting in order should be allocated and stored in accessible and navigable places. Tools and equipment should be grouped based on common function. One way to do this is colour-coding tools so they are visually identifiable.

For example, instead of having multiple tool cabinets taking up space in a factory, a mobile tool  cabinet that can be shifted around is a good way to ensure all tools are being used efficiently.


       Imaged: Flat Top Industrial Cabinets

Heavier loads and materials should be placed at an appropriate height to prevent strains or injuries. Workers should be able to pick or carry loads without too much effort. Pallet jacks and vacuum lifters can help achieve this goal.


Imaged: Skid Lifter

“Setting in order” can also be viewed as “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Adding floor markings to demarcate where certain tools or equipment must reside – such as a tape outline for trolleys or pallet jacks –is a key component of 2S. This also enhances safety.



Imaged: Gas Cylinder Lifting Trolly


To find out more about 5S and lean systems products, call Backsafe Australia on 1300 305 314 or visit our special 5S page here.


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