Once Sort is complete, 5S team leaders can begin to move forward on a more comprehensive system of organization. Known as Set in Order, this step is dedicated to helping a facility find permanent storage locations for every item and visually identifying their locations.

A Place for Everything

From hammers to forklifts, every necessary item inside and around a facility requires a dedicated place for storage.

This way workers easily find items and wasteful searching is eliminated. Items stored at unreasonable distances from work areas should be relocated to closer proximities. Having close access to tools and supplies that are in order decreases wasted time and reduces workplace injuries. In some cases, installing modular shelving and cabinets provides a solution. Well organized storage makes it easy to identify, find and move contents.

Tackling this step requires active participation by all 5S team leaders. Ensure regularly scheduled team meetings are being held. Leaders can use this time to discuss progress and share ideas for improvements. Keep in mind, nonessential items will continue to be discovered and require red-tagging. This means returning to Sort when necessary.

Review Storage

In this step, team leaders must evaluate existing facility visual communication to ensure new storage locations are properly labeled and accurately display their contents. If in-house label and sign standards do not already exist, team leaders should establish them. The goal is to provide uniformity and proper visibility so workers immediately find what they’re looking for. Make sure to research existing ANSI and OSHA design standards before developing in-house standards. Knowing national safety sign design standards in advance will help eliminate conflicts. Common design standards are described in OSHA’s 29 CFR §1910.145 and ANSI Z535. Standards for new and very different designs can then be created for all non-hazard facility labels and signs. Present sample colors, and designs to workers so they may test legibility and provide feedback. Sign size, graphics, colors and text should all be standardized by useful categories to ensure uniformity. Each standard can then be tailored to meet a facility’s individual needs.

In-House Standards
Once in-house visual communication standards are established, ensure existing signs and labels comply. In some cases, this will mean removing and replacing existing labels and signs to create facility-wide compliance. At some locations a combination of signage and auditory devices may be beneficial. Auditory devices are especially useful when storage locations contain hazards.

Throughout Set in Order, be sure to track storage locations with a logbook. Keeping a written record prevents lost or misplaced storage. Educate workers to recognize locations where labels and signs would be beneficial. When found, workers should be encouraged to notify 5S team leaders. Respond to workers’ requests as soon as possible to foster continued 5S participation.


• Indicate workflow directions with signage.

• Place facility maps at strategic locations.

• Provide signage with legends to simplify instruction.


• Label electrical equipment for fast recognition.

• Describe equipment operation with signage.

• Keep labels consistent across your facility.

• Consider electronic visual and auditory alerts, where beneficial.

Inventory & Material

• Adhere HazCom 2012 labels onto hazardous storage containers.

• Install modular shelving/cabinets to improve organization and visibility.

• Use flexible storage so changes are easy.

• Mark warehouse floors to show storage boundaries.

• Clearly identify contents of pipes, valves, tanks and storage cylinders.

• Identify new storage locations for tools and inventory.

• Tag utilities and related gauges with proper identification and procedures.

• Ensure safety issues and hazards are properly marked.

• Label safety stations with instructions.