5S in Pharmaceutical Industry

What is 5S System:

5S is a system for organizing spaces so that work can be performed efficiently, effectively, and safely. This system focuses on putting everything where it belongs and keeping the workplace clean, which makes it easier for people to do their jobs without wasting time or risking injury.

5S methodology has expanded from manufacturing and is now being applied to a wide variety of industries including Health care or pharmaceuticals, Education and Government. it can also be applied to knowledge economy work, with information, software, or media in the place of physical product.

Origin of 5S System :

5S was developed in Japan and was identified as one of the techniques that enabled Just in Time manufacturing.

5S began as part of the Toyota Production System (TPS), the manufacturing method begun by leaders at the Toyota Motor Company in the early and mid-20th century.

This is often accomplished by finding and eliminating waste from production processes.

5S Translation :

The term 5S comes from five Japanese words:

  • Seiri
  • Seiton
  • Seiso
  • Seiketsu
  • Shitsuke

In English, these words are often translated to:

  • Sort
  • Set in Order
  • Shine
  • Standardize
  • Sustain

What are the Benefits of 5S :

  • Reduced costs of the organization
  • Can produce High Quality of Products
  • Increased the productivity
  • Greater employee satisfaction
  • A safer work environment  for the personnel working in the organization

Sort (seiri) :

Seiri is sorting through all items in a location and removing all unnecessary items from the location.


  • Reduce time loss for searching an item by reducing the number of items.
  • Reduce the chance of confusion by unnecessary items.
  • Simplify inspection.
  • Increase the amount of available, useful space.
  • Increase safety by eliminating obstacles.


  • Check all items in a location and evaluate whether or not their presence at the location is useful or necessary.
  • Remove unnecessary items as soon as possible. Place those that cannot be removed immediately in a ‘red tag area’ so that they are easy to remove later on.
  • Keep the working floor clear of materials except for those that are in use to production.

Set in order (seiton) :

 Seiton is putting all necessary items in the optimal place for fulfilling their function in the workplace.


  • Make the workflow smooth and easy.


  • Arrange work stations in such a way that all tooling / equipment is in close proximity, in an easy to reach spot and in a logical order adapted to the work performed. Place components according to their uses, with the frequently used components being nearest to the workplace.
  • Assign fixed locations for items. Use clear labels, marks or hints so that items are easy to return to the correct location and so that it is easy to spot missing items.

Shine (seiso) :

Seiso is sweeping or cleaning and inspecting the workplace, tools and machinery on a regular basis.


  • Improves the production process efficiency and safety, reduces waste, prevents errors and defects.
  • Keep the workplace safe and easy to work in.
  • Keep the workplace clean and pleasing to work in.


  • Clean the workplace and equipment on a daily basis, or at another appropriate (high frequency) cleaning interval.
  • Inspect the workplace and equipment while cleaning.

Standardize (seiketsu) :

Seiketsu is to standardize the processes used to sort, order and clean the workplace.


  • Establish procedures and schedules to ensure the repetition of the first three ‘S’ practices.


  • Ensure everyone knows their responsibilities of performing the sorting, organizing and cleaning.
  • Use photos and visual controls to help keep everything as it should be.
  • Review the status of 5S implementation regularly using audit checklists.

Sustain/self-discipline (shitsuke) :

Shitsuke or sustain the developed processes by self-discipline of the workers.

Also translates as “do without being told”.


  • Ensure that the 5S approach is followed.


  • Organize training sessions.
  • Perform regular audits to ensure that all defined standards are being implemented and followed.
  • Implement improvements whenever possible. Worker inputs can be very valuable for identifying improvements.
  • When issues arise, identify their cause and implement the changes necessary to avoid recurrence.

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