BRAVO!’s 5S Program

5S Program

Looking To Improve Cleaning Performance In Your Building? Try The 5S Program…

Written by Dan Beck, Executive Vice President, BRAVO! Group Services (

The 5S Program is a workplace organization method that breaks down a specific space by sorting through a defined area, straightening it out to ensure it shines, and then implementing a standard that is sustainable.

The 5S Program uses a list of five Japanese words, all starting with the letter S: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. It is a structured program used to systematically achieve total organization, cleanliness, and standardization in the workplace.  These five Japanese words describe a process to a well-organized workplace, resulting in a safer, more efficient, and more productive operation.  The list describes how to organize a work space for efficiency and effectiveness by identifying and storing the items used, maintaining the area and items, and sustaining the new order.  5S is a tool a company can implement when looking to change the culture of an organization to one that is always striving for continuous improvement.

  • Sort (Seiri/Tidiness) – Eliminate all unnecessary processes and tools.  Keep only essential items and eliminate what is not required, prioritizing things per requirements and keeping them in easily accessible places.  Everything else is stored or discarded.  Think of a conference room, your office, and pantry.
  • Straighten (Seiton/Orderliness) – Arrange the work, workers, equipment, and instructions in such a way that the work flows free of waste through the tasks with a division of labor necessary to meet demand.  Put simply, until you have an orderly flow, you cannot have an orderly flow of problems to solve, and the notion of zero defects is impossible.
  • Shine (Seiso/Cleanliness) – Clean the workspace and all equipment, and keep it clean, tidy and organized.  This will ensure that at the end of the task or shift, the work area is clean, and everything is restored to its place.  This step ensures that the area is ready for the next user and that order is sustained.
  • Standardize (Seiketsu/Standardization) – Ensure uniform procedures and setups throughout the operation to promote interchangeability.
  • Sustain (Shitsuke/Discipline) – Make it a way of life and a commitment.  Ensure disciplined adherence to rules and procedures of 5S to prevent backsliding. Follow-up and follow-through.

A 5S program helps reduce waste and optimize productivity by maintaining an organized workplace using visual cards that achieve more consistent operational results.  The five steps above are also known as the 5 pillars of a visual workplace.  Implementing the 5S method means cleaning up and organizing the workplace in its existing configuration.  Have you ever walked into a conference room, with the chairs not matching, AV cords lying on the floor and the blinds pulled down at all different levels?  How does that make you feel?  The 5S method encourages workers to improve their working conditions and helps them to learn how to reduce time and steps, as well as provides a consistent look throughout their space.

5S is a good starting point for all improvement efforts aiming to drive out waste, ultimately improving the customer experience and bottom line by improving services and lowering costs.  Many organizations are seeking to make operations more efficient and, in my opinion, 5S will help you get there.

All BRAVO! managed sites have opted to follow the path towards a “5S” workplace organizational and housekeeping methodology, as part of our continuous improvement processes.

How can you implement 5S methodology to improve your customers experience when visiting your facility?

  • Your first step is to establish a cross functional team, including your supplier and employees that work in the associated areas, tour all areas of the facility in which you want to improve the experience, and brainstorm on ways to improve the touch and feel, utilizing your 5 senses.  You can use the 5S process to analyze the space, products used to maintain the space, equipment, current process, and flow of information.  Using this information,develop your current state and how things have been done in the past.  The team then analyzes the current state map to identify opportunities for workplace organization and house keeping improvements.
  • Once you complete the first step, there will be many ideas that you will want to consider.  Each idea may be an option, but many of them will not be worthy to investigate.  Sort through these ideas, and if they do not add value to improve the customer experience, remove them immediately and focus on the goal.
  • Finally, envision your goal and based on this exercise,implement the changes to improve the future state.  Ultimately, the benefits of your 5S program will:

1. Improve workplace conditions.
2. Reduce work cycle time. Fewer delays = time saved.
3. Reduce defects.
4. Increase safety.
5. Increase team efficiency.
6. Increase company morale.  Rather than waste time on problems and frustrations, everyone can do their jobs smoothly.
7. Improve customer satisfaction with higher quality, lower cost, and faster turnaround.

For additional information, call us at 866-OH-BRAVO or visit

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