Advantages of adapting 5S in the workplace

An unorganized workplace not only costs time and money, it also increases the risks of accidents in the work environment. Tomas Sandin started off as a Test Technician at Nilar in May 2012. Today he is working as a LEAN-coordinator, but also as operative support to the production manager and production team in their daily operations when it’s needed. Tomas is constantly curious of gaining more knowledge, both about people and techniques. His aim is to learn something new everyday. We asked Tomas Sandin a few questions about his role and why it’s important for industries to put the 5S method into practice. Take part in his answers below.

What is 5S?

5S is a tool for creating and maintaining an efficient, safe and orderly workplace. A workplace with good order significantly reduces the risk of injury, increase opportunities for better maintenance and reduces waste such as long adjustment times and scraps. Above all, it provides a more pleasant workplace.

What does 5S stand for?

  • Sort: The team go through items together. This is to identify what are essential for daily work operations and not. This includes sorting out tools, supplies, office material etc.
  • Set in order:  This step is to reduce waste and to store items based on their frequency of use.
  • Shine: Clean and remove trash. Unclean process equipment can lead to equipment failure which in turn lead to waste, lost time, safety issues and increase risks for injuries.
  • Standardize: Work instructions, checklists and other documentation are developed. If lacking clear instructions, individuals might develop their own ways of working in a way that is not in line with what was determined together.
  • Sustain: Sustain is to perform 5S on a consistent and systematic basis. The goal is to get 5S deeply rooted in the company culture.


As a LEAN-coordinator you must have an interest in organized environments, how come?

I have always had an unconscious attraction to the 5S system. I used to be an expert at forgetting where I’ve put belongings. If there are lots of things lying around, they have a tendency to disappear. I realized that this is a common issue, and wanted others to understand how it can easily be prevented with adaptions, structure and teamwork. If more people recognize the risks of an unorganized workplace, more people can come up with common solutions.

Since you are interested in keeping things tidy and organized, are you just as organized at home as at the work place?

I really try to be organized at home. I actually implemented a 5S system at home for important items such as car keys, wallet, scissors and my childrens gloves and beanies. These are things that always causes lots of stress, waste of time and waiting. I would love to have a pure 5S system at home, but as you might imagine, the other family members are not as motivated as me to do so.

What is something you’ve learned from 5S that you would like to tell others?

The thing you don’t leave on the floor, is one less thing for you to pick up.