The 5S designation corresponds to the five japanese words, seiri,seiton, seiso, seiketsu and sitsuke. This methodology defines the way company processes and goods must be kept and maintained. The decision making processes are usually produced based on the standarization posibility, what helps the employees to understand how their job should be done, also internalising the property of the process for the employee. It is intended to improve and maintain the working area in certain conditions of organization, order and cleaning much higher than previously, which impacts in the quality of the working conditions, in safety, in the working environment, in the personel motivation and in efficiency.
The 5S methodology is a part of the Kaizen systems (broader and more complex), designed to ensure control in plant working areas. Kaizen is a concept, the word is made from two terms Kai + Zen meaning "pass to a better welfare state", and is applicable to any scope, tipically Safety, Quality, Productivity and Environment, that's why some organisations call it 6S, when including a particular concept.
The steps are:
Globally, the first three "S" refer to operative activities and must be finished defore starting with the fouth "S". Seiton (2ndS) is one of the functions that differentiate the 5S from standarized cleaning systems and similar. In some sectors or activities, this phase can be understood also as a simplification.
When there are changes in teams, new products, etc, obtained standards must be modified togeher with 5S training actions.