The first stage in 5S requires you to identify and clean every item in a workspace. It’s important to recognise what items are needed frequently, less frequently or not at all. Any broken items need to be repaired or disposed of.

This step also focuses on removing any dirt, rubbish or debris. This will simplify the sort process by removing clutter. A clean and clutter-free workspaceis a much nicer place to be and the changes usually improve productivity and eliminate waste.

During the Sort phase, each item needs to be examined and classified to determine its purpose and its owner. This will ensure that the item is stored in the most convenient location and is easily accessible. Items that are no longer used need to be removed or given to a department that will use them. If they are not needed, they can be sold, recycled or disposed of.

Red tags

It’s often surprising how many items in a workplace are either not used or can’t be classified. As part of the Sort phase, we usually suggest that red tags be assigned to items that arenon-essentialand these items are moved to a staging area until their purpose can be defined.

Good start

Cleaning workspaces will make it easier to identify maintenance issues and improve safety while identifying items that are not required and wasting space. Once the Sort phase is complete, it’s time to straighten and organise.

Keep an eye out for next week’s post: Step 2. Set and Straighten