Sustain in the 5S system is the final step in implementation and helps maintain the system for the life of the facility. Previous steps should now be embedded into daily operations. Sustaining them keeps 5S functioning efficiently and providing maximum facility organization and efficiency.

Dedicate to Sustain

Workers should now be expected to routinely complete assigned 5S duties with little supervision. 5S duty schedules and posted procedures must be maintained to help promote continued self-management and reduce confusion. Integrate 5S education into existing new worker training programs. Workers will be expected to understand 5S from their first day on the job. Although 5S now functions autonomously, team leaders should never let their guard down and assertively monitor the system for issues.

5S leaders must work to set examples by following through on scheduled work-area inspections. Team leaders and other facility managers should have access to 5S calendars, listing meeting dates and times. A dedication to sustaining the system will become a catalyst for continued 5S success and inspire workers to embrace the 5S System.

Progress Evaluations

Monthly work-area progress evaluations are another important element of Sustain. These evaluations provide 5S team leaders and other managers an avenue to gauge successes. A custom rating system will help provide workers with the feedback they need to make improvements where necessary.

Progress evaluations are generally based on issues and successes documented during weekly work-area inspections. Awarding points for achieving goals will help accurately track work area progress. 5S team leaders may wish to award one point per duty when cleanliness standards are achieved and deduct two points when standards are not achieved. Workers will eventually complete duties based on how points are awarded or deducted. Always explain why points were deducted so a worker knows where to improve.

Point System

Remember to be fair when awarding and deducting points. Workers will continue to support the 5S system so long as they feel scoring accurately reflects their performance. To eliminate doubt, workers should always see how co-workers are rated. This can be accomplished by posting scores within work areas after each inspection. Monthly totals and yearly goals can be included.

Revisit Steps

Now that the final step in implementation is nearing completion, go back and photograph the conditions of all work areas and re-record worker routine-task times. Make sure to collect current figures for production, profit, injury, and expenditures. Where possible, organize this data by work area and begin transferring ratings to spreadsheets. Use graphs and charts to provide workers and managers easy-to-understand visual progress reports.

Visual Progress

Once a data collection system has been standardized, goals for individual work areas and entire facilities can be presented. Banners and signs, displaying 5S progress, should be placed at strategic locations to help workers visualize goals and feel they are achievable.

Maintaining an open dialog with workers is critical for 5S team leaders. Regular support and reassurance reinforces the system so each worker feels they are truly benefiting from its implementation.Expanding the use of 5S beyond the work area is another excellent way to help sustain the system.

When used in facility offices and other external departments, the importance of sustaining 5S is universally understood and receives even greater support. When goals are achieved, immediately communicate these successes to all work-area personnel. Internal publications, awards, signs, and even banners are all excellent devices to recognize achievements. Once workers feel good about their contributions, they will be motivated to sustain 5S and suggest improvements.


Progress tracking, as described in Standardize, can now be applied in each 5S step. When workers regularly see status reports and achievement goals, they’re much more likely to achieve them. Start by posting results in work areas so 5S scores are seen daily.

Put SUSTAIN into Action:

1. Provide workers formal calendars for work area inspections and meetings.

2. Hold scheduled work-area meetings and inspections.

3. Continue to document worker feedback and implement once management approved.

4. Communicate 5S successes using internal publications, signs, awards, and banners.

5. Look to workers for 5S improvements and monitor success.

6. Record duty task-times again and compare to earlier times.