How to Implement Lean Manufacturing – Sort and Shine (5S): Part 2

Rick Bohan

We’re on a roll regarding rolling out 5S that should go a couple of more posts.  In our last post, we talked about planning the Sort and Shine phase of the initiative.  In this post, we’re going to talk a bit more about getting prepped.

5S plant map
Here’s an example of a plant map divided into 5S areas.

Here’s the overall plan:  you’re going to divide up the facility into smaller Sort and Shine areas.  Each area will be sorted and shined by the team that works in that area according to a prescribed schedule.  First, then, you need to print a map of the entire facility, get a pencil, and divide the facility up into those Sort and Shine Areas.  (See the image to the right.)  Maybe each department is a Sort and Shine Area. Maybe each cell is a Sort and Shine Area.  You get the idea.

5S map
You will probably need to divide each area into smaller locations.

You’ll probably need to take it a step farther and divide each area into several locations. Generally, areas have locations within them that will need attention and focus as Sort and Shine is carried out.  Specific locations might include equipment, work tables and benches, storage cabinets, storage shelves, storage areas, inventory areas, document storage areas, work desks, tool boxes, work stations and so on.

Why go through all this trouble?  I’ve found that 5S devolves into simple sweeping and dusting if the area covered is too large.  Most plants are a mess: racks and shelves crammed with stuff, cabinets and tool boxes bursting with junk and materials and tools and who-knows-what.


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