5S is a basic methodology of the Lean Toolbox and one of the best known and used in all types of companies. It helps detecting and eliminating waste and standardising workplaces, achieving organised, tidy and clean work environments on a permanent basis.

What are 5S audits and what are they for?

5S audit is the tool used to assess 5S compliance in the workplace. These periodic inspections help to ensure that the five 5S principles are being followed: sorting, tidiness, cleanliness, visual control and discipline.

1ª S: Separar. It consists of sorting what is essential and removing what is unnecessary.

2ª S: Ordenar. The location and identification of each item so that it is always available.

3ª S: Limpieza. Taking care of the material and keeping it in optimal conditions for its use.

4ª S: Control visual. The standardisation of the workstation

5ª S: Disciplina. Make it a habit to maintain procedures properly.

An audit is also intended to show opportunities for improvement in the audited areas. These are carried out on a regular basis – daily, weekly, monthly, etc. – by qualified staff members as part of a continuous improvement process.

5 phases of the methodology

Tips and hints

  • When it comes to implementing and maintaining a 5S programme in the organisation, staff must be properly trained in 5S concepts by experienced internal or external professionals.
  • When drawing up the questionnaire or checklist, make sure that it is simple, understandable and reflects the reality of the specific area to be audited.
  • Include questions about known problems that need to be corrected.
  • To avoid misinterpretation, include yes/no questions.
  • It should contain a maximum of 10 questions.
  • Be honest and rigorous in both the evaluation and the answer: it is not about judging the work of the staff but about finding and proposing actions to improve the work environment and processes.
  • Put forward simple solutions that are immediately applicable.
  • Last but not least, disseminating the results of audits helps to increase staff commitment and involvement in improvements.

5S daily audit checklist template

This editable template can be adapted and used in any work environment.. It includes two sample questionnaire templates, one for an office environment and one for a production line.

This template will enable you to verify compliance with previously defined standards and to identify and correct any anomalous situations more quickly and effectively.

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