101 Kaizen Templates: Workplace 5S Audit Sheet

Why would the world need another 5S audit sheet? Well, kaizen never ends, that’s why. Although it does rest sometimes.

There are 10 questions, 2 in each of the five categories of 5S. You need to know what to look for to give a “tough” score, but even a beginner manager can use this form to audit an area.

We haven’t used this 5S audit sheet much, it’s very new. So please try it out and give us your feedback.

This 5S audit sheet attempts to look at both the surface condition of the workplace and the apparent level of 5S as well as the processes that are in place to achieve and sustain that level of 5S. After all, even if it looks like perfect 5S today if the process that got you there was mere herculean effort and a flurry of weekend red-tagging, it probably won’t last. The thinking behind 5S is missing. This sheet doesn’t go deep into that thinking.

In fact it aims to make it quick and easy for a manager or anybody to take a few minutes to ask 10 questions and rank the maturity of 5S of a workplace in an objective way.

One rule of thumb we have learned when people first start doing 5S audits is that people will score themselves too high, unless they have seen some world class workplaces and have an image of their target condition for 5S. If not, subtract 0.5 to 1 point from you self-scored 5S audit and you might be about right. Another curious phenomenon is that as you get better at 5S and become more lean through continuous improvement efforts, your 5S audit scores will go up, then go down, and then go up again eventually. This may repeat several times. The dip in scores is not because of backsliding (although that certainly can happen). The dip is because as people realize they were grading themselves too easily, they lower their scores on follow up audits even through in fact their 5S has improved. This can send the wrong message, so it’s best to be as calibrated as possible in the early days, or to bring in a tough auditor to score you closer to your reality.

7 Comments

  1. shepty

    January 2, 2009 - 7:32 pm

    Dear Sir,
    thanks for the information about 5S. but i still need more. can you tell me about being good 5S auditor? because in my factory that i work, still hard to explain how good the result of 5S programs.
    thanks
    Regards,
    shepty

  2. Jon Miller

    January 3, 2009 - 2:46 pm

    Hi Shepty
    I have answered your question here: Ask Gemba.
    Thanks for your question.

  3. paramjeet

    February 23, 2009 - 9:59 am

    Dear Sir,
    I need information about 5S. can you tell me about being good 5S auditor? because in my factory that i work, still hard to explain how good the result of 5S programs.
    thanks

  4. Jon Miller

    February 23, 2009 - 11:20 am

    Hi Paramjeet,
    Please follow the “Ask Gemba” link above and you will find a few pointers towards the end of that article.
    Also, please visit “The 5S” section at the top of this web page and you may find other articles of use to you.
    Best wishes,

  5. Girmai

    November 1, 2010 - 6:30 am

    Dear Sir,Madam
    thanks for the information about 5S. but I still need more. can you tell me about being good 5S facilitator ? because in my company that I work, still hard to explain how good the result of 5S programs.
    thanks
    Best Regards,
    Girmai
    Read more: Lean Manufacturing Blog, Kaizen Articles and Advice | Gemba Panta Rei

  6. Eric

    December 3, 2010 - 4:58 am

    Dear Sir or Madam,
    Thanks for the information. Do you have an illustration available that depicts a “perfect-5” 5S environment?

  7. Mahinda Saranapala

    February 8, 2011 - 9:05 am

    I have been a 5S practitioner for several years after initial training in
    Japan.We have successfully linked the 5ss to the KPIs.Our audit sheet gives 70% for 5ss and 30% FOR kPI.we provide consultancy to many companies to
    implement 5Ss successfully.
    It is amazing to see the changes that take place in Companies and the involvement of all employees.It is great tool and a solid foundation.BRAVO 5Ss !