Reorganization – 5S Theory


Organization doesn’t become a natural part of their everyday life. 5 S theory of Japan is followed by many companies in different countries. This can be simply defined as, “Reorganization� (Seiri) , “ maintenance� (Seiton), “clean up “ (Seiso), “ cleanliness “ (Seiketsu), and “the proper attitude “ (Shitsuke). The “5S� (Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke in Japanese really are the basics of any job.

(a). What the Japanese “Seiri� mean?

The meaning of the Japanese “Seiri� is to straighten and contain. “Get rid of waste and put it in order according to rules.� There are meanings such as “farmland cultivation.� Another meaning is to “Make an orderly system and straighten� Traffic control�, etc.Some points concerning the meaning of this word

1. Get rid of waste. Delete unnecessary things and waste. Stop waste.

2. Straighten and contain…. Put away things in such a way that these can be taken out quickly when required.

3. Straighten accordingly to rules and an orderly system….The improvement must be implemented by developing a ‘system’ so that the decisions and actions can be repeated with consistency bringing the same end results.

If these ideas were utilized in our offices and factories, waste such as searching, and having unnecessary things taking up space, would be reduced.

(b) Reorganization as Used in the 5S System for Improving the Work Place.

1. The definition and essence of Reorganization.

The 5S movement has been developed in many places of work. The definition of “reorganization� here means “To clearly divide objects into two groups—those items that are necessary and those that are unnecessary. To get rid of the unnecessary and keep the necessary.� This is a vital point for the “reorganization� method, or in the use of reorganization,� as a way to begin improvements.

2. Breaking the necessary and unnecessary into categories and groups.

To explain “ reorganization� in a more concrete manner, we could say it is “ to organize and clean up, according to uniform rules and tools, a situation in which everything is in a mess and nothing can be found without a search, “ and then “ after doing that, to put aside everything which is unnecessary so that it is easier to work.�

In order to do this, things and documents which are used in the office or workshop should be clearly divided into the necessary and unnecessary, and then arranged according to objective functions.

Unless this is done, unnecessary things cannot be thrown out, disposed of, or stopped. It will also be impossible to do the next step, which is to consider how to store items in their order of importance.

3. Making sub-groups according to the frequencies of use.

It is extremely important and yet, extremely difficult to classify the necessary and unnecessary items and put them into categories. We have the tendency of not throwing things away because we think “it might come in handy some day�.

First of all, check carefully as to how documents and things are used, stratify them in a chart such as the one below, decide how they should be taken care of, and then take action. When this is completed, you can say that “reorganization� has been accomplished, and the results will soon make themselves evident.

of use

of queueing)



Method of disposal
Used less
than once a year
Not used Throw away
Used about
once every six months to a year.
Used infrequently Store in a distant spot.
Used about
once in two to
six months

Used about
once a month

Used sometimes

Organize and
keep in work place

Used about
once a week

Used once a

Used all the

Used often

Keep handy

Keep nearby

Easily identifiable.

When this sort of frequency of use control is done, and data classified, things that will probably not be used within a year or more can be considered for disposal. The amount kept in storage can also be deceased. In a workshop, especially, the quantity of things which need to be kept in stock can also be reduced.

© Important Points concerning “Reorganization�

1.First decide what needs to be Reorganized:

In order to do “reorganization� and make your job easier, you must first decide what must be reorganized. In an office, decide whether you will do documents, files, or control systems, and then begin. At a workshop, you might choose machinery, tools, measuring instruments, materials, or parts, etc. Next, consider categories from every angle, and divide everything into these categories.

2. Decide and then follow through until the job is finished:

Besides doing and efficient job of “reorganized� and getting good results, you can also count on solving individual problems and making improvements in the process. To this end, always follow these rules.

1. Make a well-defined decision as to what will be reorganized.
2. Why are you doing it ? Define your goal for reorganization.
3. Where will you reorganize? Decide where things will be stored.
4. How will you reorganize? Decide the methods you will use.
5. When will you reorganize (Accountability)? Decide whether it is to be superiors, staff, a team etc.
6. Who will reorganize? Decide whether it is to be superior, staff, a team etc.

  • Srikumar

    I had heard about the concept. I am very happy that I am able read and understand the wonderful system today.

  • M. ShashiKant

    Nice Details.