The third S, in 5S, is commonly referred to as shine. A more accurate translation of the original Japanese word – seisou – is probably scrub or sweep. But shine works as well.

Missing the Point

But here’s the thing. Most people completely miss what this 3rd S is all about. Many seem to think it’s all about sweeping up the dirt and perhaps even getting on ourhands and knees to scrub the floor. And it is to some extent. But it’s so much more.

Clean to Inspect

The proper approach, when focusing on this 3rd S, is to not only thoroughly clean the area… it’s also to understand why it’s dirty in the first place.

In other words, we should clean to inspect. We should clean in such a way as to identify the source of the grime so we can eliminate it.

For example, if we’re cleaning oil off the floor we must find out why it got there. Simply cleaning it and not fixing the problem that created the spill or leak is pointless.

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