What is Seiton?

What do the Japanese word “Seiton” Means?
General use

When we use the word “Seiton” it is usually used together with “Seiri”. Let’s do good “Seiri, Seiton,” we say. We also put big signs on the wall with the words “SEIRI, SEITON,” written in large letters, and use it as our motto.



1. Announce the meeting
2. Prepare refreshments
3. Assemble documents and memos
4. Arrange desk


1. Proposal
2. Discussion
3. Study


Clean up

1. Make inspection
2. Clean up refreshments
3. Collect documents
4. Put desks back
5. Throw out unnecessary documents

After meeting, putting desks back in order, returning things that have been borrowed, etc is “Seiri”, “Seiton” is putting desks in a circle before meetings, preparing documents, memo pads, and refreshments and contacting participants to inform them about the meeting.

In other words, “Seiri, Seiton” are the things that are done before something begins and after it is finished. When these are done quickly and well, work results will improve noticeably. We know this fact well, but we can’t always put it into practice. How does the dictionary define “Seiton?”

From the Dictionary:

Most dictionaries define “Seiton” as “to be correctly prepared” and “to prepare correctly.” The “ton” of Seiton means “to stop” or “compose”. When it is read as “tomi” it means “abrupt” or “quickly”.

Organizing these points, there are two meanings, (1) arrange correctly in accordance with the correct method of doing activities, and (2) make thorough preparations so that activities can be done if they occur abruptly.

The Meaning of Seiton in the 5 ‘S’ s:

The definition and essence of Seiton:-

The definition of Seiton is used pertaining to a situation in which Seiri has been completed and only necessary items remain. Seiton means to place things necessary for the work at hand so that they can be used easily and to label them so that anybody can find them. The person who is to do a particular job can get right down it, and will find the items he needs in the order in which they are to be used.

The essence of Seiton is to follow through and decide the way things are to be placed so that work can be done correctly and the SQPO (safety, quality, productivity) control items are fulfilled. For example, to place things so that injuries will not occur, so that they will not scratch or rust finished products, and so that they do not have to be searched for.

Seiton from the view of total production maintenance (TPM):

The 5 ‘S’s are used in TPM and have become a matter of common sense. It can be said that this indicates one improvement direction of Seiton.

Seiton as a part of TPM means to safeguard (maintain) the control standards set at the Seiri stage. In a case such as this, it is necessary for workers to make thorough improvements so that the control standards are easy to maintain. In order to profit from Seiton it is vital that every facet of the workplace is standardized and visible control is complete.

It is difficult, however, to maintain a reorganized situation. A slackening of interest and everything tends to return to its original state. Preventing this is the job of supervisors at the workshop.

Reduce preparation and tool setting:

Even if operation improvements are made which speed up preparation work, or tool setting is changed from an inside tool setting operation to an outside tool setting operation, positive results cannot be expected of time and energy are spent looking for moulds, tools, jigs and fixtures and materials, and distances are covered repeatedly. Seiton is placing things and working so that various types of wastes are reduced.

Reduce time spent waiting for parts and materials:

If you think that parts and materials will be delivered and they are not, you have to go to the warehouse to look for them. Then, you may not know where they are, and time will be wasted. Seiton means placing things so that waste is decreased a system which demands that the method of operations be controlled by a visible check beforehand.

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