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The 5S method of warehouse management explained

As ecommerce has grown, warehouses have taken center stage. No longer the stark, characterless spaces to store goods they used to be, they’ve become the focal point of the industry, hives in which the core activity of order fulfillment takes place. What’s more, the ease and ready access of online shopping around the world has opened up the marketplace, making ecommerce a unified global industry. The supply chain has become global; the marketplace has become global. This expansion is putting pressure on warehouse managers to make better use of their spaces and to make them more efficient. They are finding the 5S method very helpful.

Originally developed in Japan, the 5S method is a series of five strategies that have their origins in the lean system, an approach to efficiency in manufacturing and warehousing that’s based on cutting everything back to the bare essentials.

We’re going to explore each of the five Ss, so you can see how they can help you get your warehouse management functioning at its optimum level.

The S’s of the 5S method

1. Sort

Think of this as a spring cleaning. It means sorting through everything, getting rid of anything that’s not essential, and putting what’s left in a workable order.


2. Set in order

Here, we’re talking about laying out and organizing the entire space, not just the inventory. Each area should be clearly defined and marked; signage should be large, clear and simple everyone working inside can easily find their way around.


3. Shine

Shine stands for clean. When the warehouse is spotless, it signals a good work ethic and points the way to a well-run facility.


4. Standardize

After “sorting” everything, “setting it in order,” and getting it to “shine,” the next step is making sure everyone who works at the facility is aware of your procedures and knows how to follow them. In other words, standardizing is making sure everyone is on the same page.


5. Sustain

This final step in the 5S method is basically saying: Now that you’ve achieved all this good work by setting up and practicing the S steps that came before, keep up the good work.

Great reasons to use the 5S method in your warehouse

  1. Improved efficiency,
  2. Reduced waste,
  3. Increased safety,
  4. Better maintenance for equipment and tools,
  5. Fewer downtimes, and
  6. Healthier work situation for employees.


Final thoughts

Warehouse management is a complex and highly challenging business nowadays. Introducing lean techniques and the 5S method can be a big help when it comes to streamlining operations. Cin7 Core’s warehouse management system (WMS) can also be a boon.

To learn more about modern warehousing techniques and how they can be advantageous for you, talk to one of our Cin7 Core experts today.

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