5S Audits have a ton of benefits! Spring into safety with an easy three-step process for checking the effectiveness of 5S in your workplace

One of the most important and often overlooked parts of keeping a safe, organized, and clean workplace is conducting a 5S audit. With 5S audits, you can reveal hidden challenges before they develop into larger, more problematic issues.

Regularly conducting a 5S audit has obvious benefits, such as, creating a continuous improvement cycle, which keeps items organized and eliminates waste. Waste includes, carrying too much inventory, defects or rework, and waste of material.  Audits ultimately confirm the effectiveness of 5S in your workplace. Read helpful information about 5S training here.

Follow this simple three-step 5S audit process to answer critical questions about the effectiveness of your 5S program:

1) Verify whether known problems have been addressed by asking questions like these:

  • What machines are still leaking lubricants?
  • Are tool racks labeled?
  • Is the tool rack full or can it hold more items?
  • Can you easily identify why items are placed in specific locations?

2) Check if standards are met by asking questions like these:

  • Are tools in their appropriate location or are they left on tool benches?
  • Is dirt piling up on the production floor?
  • Any new sounds or smells coming from machinery or equipment?
  • Are existing signs and labels visibly recognizable?

3) What still needs to be standardized?

  • Are signs, labels, and tags used to convey information?
  • Is there a limit to how much weight this item can safely hold?
  • Should these packages of excessive supplies be stored in a safer location?
  • Are the tools at point of use?

5S audits are part of a lean culture and are a critical safety step to ensure your company is following the implemented 5S principles. Through a successful 5S audit you can reduce production and machine failures, cut process time, eliminate slips and falls, and prevent hazards from popping up in production areas. More importantly, 5S audits help to standardize the necessary behavioral changes to Sustain 5S.

How often should 5S audits be completed?
Although regular audits lead to the greatest results, you can assign specific people in your company to perform the inspection:

  • Weekly Audit (Best approach): To be performed by teams reviewing their own areas and assessing a self-check of their work environment.
  • Monthly Audit: To be performed by the supervisor in charge.
  • Quarterly Audit: To be performed by plant manager.
               Note: it’s critical to make sure people that work in the area being audited are present and part of the dialog.

In order to determine the performance score of each departments audit, break up the five parts of 5S and ask specific questions related to what you’d like to measure. When measuring “Sort” you want to ensure items in the workplace that are not immediately needed for work are removed. When measuring the level of “Set In Order” make sure all material, information, and tools are in a location that supports the workers. For “Shine” inspect your workplace to see if it’s spotless, without dirt, visible leaks, foreign material, and contaminants. To measure “Standardized” check to see if the workplace is clean and orderly. To ensure “Sustain” goals are met, determine if your workplace has made a commitment to order, cleanliness, and whether non-compliance is easily detectable. 

Each question you ask on your 5S audit form should have an individual score of 0 to 5 (the lower the number, the lower the score). Once all questions are asked, add up the scores and divide by the overall number of questions asked. Let’s say you received an overall score of 100 and asked 22 questions, your final score would be a 4.5 on a scale of 5.0.

When it comes to implementing and keeping up with 5S workplace organization, guarantee your company is always maximizing their potential with a solid training program and regular audits.

Contact the 5S Store for everything 5S. Answers included.


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Comment by Mauriah Lamia on May 22, 2017 at 3:20pm


Thank you for providing great insight to the 5S audit process. It's definitely not a waste of time to review the effectiveness of 5S in the workplace.

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