Lead Forensics

What is a production and warehouse 5S checklist?

Managing a warehouse is a constant process of streamlining to ensure maximum efficiency while also complying with safety standards. There are many sets of guidelines that people turn to for help; one of the most common is the 5S checklist.

The 5S checklist has its origins in Japan, but has now become a popular method of organising warehouse processes in western countries too. In this article, we will take a closer look at what it is.

What is the 5S warehouse checklist?

It is a set of guidelines that the managers of warehouses can use to evaluate their existing processes and identify ways in which they can be improved. Those improvements may be with the purpose of making the warehouse workers more productive and efficient, they may be to achieve compliance with safety standards, or both of those things. Aside from helping to clarify areas where changes are needed, the 5S checklist gives warehouse managers an ongoing framework for enhancing processes in the future too.

There are five separate categories to this checklist:

• Sort
• Set in order
• Shine
• Standardise
• Sustain

Now we will take a more detailed look at what exactly is involved in each of these.


This part is about going through every item within the warehouse and getting rid of anything that is superfluous to the efficient running of it. Components and materials that are not needed should be removed, while those that are recyclable should be. Unused components or materials that cannot be immediately scrapped should be placed in ‘red tag areas’ for later removal.

If this sort is implemented properly, you should have the maximum possible space on the working floor and have cut the time needed to search for items in the warehouse. Sorting should also enhance workplace safety by cutting down on obstacles while identifying damaged equipment like picking trolleys that must be replaced.

Set in order

This second part is about organising the components and materials for optimal efficiency, ensuring workflows are smooth. Each area should be designed so that everything the workers need to complete their tasks is close to hand, with components and materials positioned based on frequency of use. Equipment such as packing tables that allow every item to be stored within the table will help with that.

Each item should also be labelled for ease of identification and stored in set locations to make finding them easy and quick. This will also make identifying materials or components that are low in quantity and ordering replacements simpler.


The ‘shine’ part of the checklist relates to the cleaning of work areas, machinery and equipment like trolleys and shelving. It will involve keeping track of cleaning supplies to ensure you have everything needed and developing a schedule for cleaning during quieter periods. The purpose of it is to improve safety and efficiency by ensuring that equipment and machinery is kept in good condition as well as making the working environment more pleasant and conducive to productivity.

Correct implementation will see trolleys, tables and other equipment cleaned each day according to the set schedule, with inspections following immediately afterwards.


The fourth part of the 5S checklist is ‘standardise.’ The goal of this part is to create smooth processes for cleaning, ordering and sorting by putting in place systems of standardisation. To implement it effectively, those systems must be repeated each day through a structure that makes them part of the everyday warehouse working routine.

Establishing who is responsible for each of them will be the first step, as those people will help to create that standardised structure. Recording the processes via photos and documents will help to ensure that everyone adheres to their particular system.


The last of the features on the 5S checklist is ‘sustain.’ The overall purpose of it is to make sure that the workers in your warehouse are able to do what is needed to maintain safety and efficiency without constant instruction. It is about making sure that they adhere to all parts of the checklist as a matter of course. Implementing it well will involve training classes and plans for improvement that each member of staff can follow.

It will also mean that the ongoing performance of each member of staff is monitored for how closely it adheres to the 5S checklist. All staff members should be given regular feedback to help them get closer to their targets if necessary.

The 5S checklist can be put in place by working out what your production objectives are and evaluating your existing processes to see where they can be improved. Both the processes and employees should then be monitored.

At Steely Products, we provide equipment like steel packing tables that can help when implementing this checklist. Use the contact form below to place an order.

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