5S: A powerful tool for creating high-performing health care organizations

View presentation

Tools and techniques

Karen Martin
Principal Consultant
Karen Martin & Associates

5S is a simple and powerful performance improvement tool that outlines the five steps to creating workplace organization: sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain. Together, with another closely related tool visual workplace, a properly executed 5S program produces significant improvements in productivity, morale, and expense reductions. Participants will learn the step-by-step approach to planning and executing 5S activities and building sustainability to ensure that workplace organization becomes part of the organizations DNA.

Participants will receive hard copy planning tools and templates that will be used during three group activities. Content will include many pre- and post- pictures, examples of results, and the step-by-step how-tos for planning, executing, and conducting 5S event follow-up for 5S events.

Here's an example of a recent 5S event I facilitated that illustrates the aggressive results that teams can achieve in a short period of time. In only two and a a half days the team from a med-surg unit for a mid-sized hospital accomplished the following:

  • Created clean utility room from ortho room
  • Freed 500 square feet of shelving
  • Reorganized 36 drawers, freeing 18 of them
  • Created more than 500 labels and 75 signs
  • Tossed 12 trash carts/bins of stuff
  • Removed 100 feet of tape
  • Removed wallpaper, patched walls, and painted
  • Relocated time clock, copy machine, three computers, scanner, and refrigerator
  • Relocated five areas to improve physician/nurse communication
  • Switched nursing manager's office and "locker room"
  • Moved ortho supply room to ortho hall
  • Repaired 40 different items
  • Created nine parking spaces in hallways
  • Reorganized nine storage areas / closets
  • Rewired three areas
  • Updated / printed / restocked 40 forms
  • Placed 18 inch indicator (red) tape in nine storage areas
  • Scrubbed every shelf, floor, cupboard, cabinet, countertop, wall, drawer, window, whiteboard, and kitchen appliance.
  • Nursing station: 145 percent efficiency improvment
  • North wing: 70 percent efficiency improvement
  • South wing: 88 percent efficiency improvement