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Benefits of 5S

5S Fast & Simple

5S should be more than just housekeeping. When properly implemented, 5S is part of total Lean Manufacturing Strategy. Many of the benefits and effects are systemic in nature, i.e. they cannot be evaluated in isolation from the other elements of Lean. 

Nevertheless, we have attempted to identify typical improvements in the table. Since there seems to be few documented, rigorous studies of 5S benefits, the improvements in this table come from the experience of our clients and readers. they are necessarily anecdotal. Some narratives about 5S experiences are at our Commentary page.

Benefit Potential Improvement

Up to 70% Reduction


5%-60% Reduction


15%-50%+ Increase

Pride & Morale

Significantly Improved


20%-50% Reduction

Wasted Motion

20%-50%+ Reduction

Kaizen Mind

Number of Suggestions

1500%+ Increase


Many 5S programs use Safety as one of the S'. An organization's concern for safety can be a significant contributor to morale and pride. It can be measured with Lost Time Injury rates or other measures of safety performance. 


Cleaning out the junk will sometimes open significant space by itself. If an analysis and localized re-layout of departments is part of the 5S effort, there may be significant savings. However, such space savings must be consolidated into larger blocks of space to be useful. 


Measurement of productivity can occur in many ways and at many levels such as overall factory productivity, work team productivity or micro-motion productivity. Overall factory productivity is the most important from a competitive viewpoint but many other factors can influence this other than 5S. 

Pride & Morale

Pride and morale are notoriously difficult to measure but critically important. While there are survey tools for such measurement, they are time-consuming. The practical effects are seen primarily in absenteeism, turnover and productivity. 


Absenteeism results from many causes but pride and morale are two of the more important. Improvements in absenteeism, if other factors remain constant, can be assumed as resulting from increased pride and morale. 

Wasted Motion

If 5S teams prepare before-and-after spaghetti diagrams, they can measure reductions in walking  distance. There are, however, other motion savings at the micro level (reaching, bending, etc.) that are more difficult to measure directly. 


The Kaizen Mind

The rigor, discipline and analysis inherent in 5S can contribute to the development of the "Kaizen Mind." This is a culturally induced attitude of constantly looking for and implementing improvement, particularly at the level of an individual worker or a work team. For more on this see "The DNA of Toyota" and Quick & Easy Kaizen. Next PageOne way to measure this is with the number of suggestions per employee. 

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