This step refers to the critical cleaning and basic maintenance duties workers incorporate into their daily routines. Once in place, Shine becomes an invaluable organizational step integrated into daily work routines.

Clean It Up

A poorly kept workplace is a clear sign of inefficiency. Workers and machines operating in dirty environments don’t function at peak performance, and issues like leaks, squeaks, and vibrations often go overlooked. Ultimately, the result is losses in production and money. The ripple effect from these inefficiencies can be far reaching and negatively influence an entire facility. By eliminating these issues, workers are more productive and remain safer on the job.

True facility cleaning requires more than just simple sweeping and dusting. All debris or contaminants that do not belong in the workplace must be eliminated. Dust, dirt, and fluids all fall into this category and require containment or removal.

Workers must have access to the right cleaning supplies to put Shine into action. These are supplies for use in specific work areas and on specific equipment. Workers will need a detailed cleaning checklist describing Shine duties. Post this list within each work area. Desks, equipment, tools, inventories, storage areas, floors, and lighting are all common work area items requiring regular cleaning as part of Shine.

Help workers embrace Shine by providing well-defined cleaning periods with published schedules. Make Shine a routine so workers quickly grow to accept these duties and are regularly reminded of their importance.

Where possible, assign cleaning responsibilities to workers in each work area. When charged with maintaining the tools and equipment they use, workers will have greater pride

in their work and surroundings. Workers should be held accountable for issues arising in their work areas. Encourage them to continually monitor the cleanliness of their work areas as well as neighboring spaces. This aids in identifying even the tiniest abnormalities and pre-failure conditions sooner.

Beyond Clean

Maintaining Shine in the workplace goes well beyond basic cleaning. Workers should participate in making basic repairs to all visible surfaces during scheduled cleaning times. This may include repainting equipment, walls, floors, or any other visible work area surfaces.

The benefits of Shine may not be immediately apparent. Its impact on a facility, however, will often ripple well beyond work areas. Shine is known to positively influence entire facilities. Non-manufacturing departments such as sales or IT, can experience real benefits from Shine.

Cleaner work environments improve morale and safety, and also motivate workers to maintain work areas. Shine is a never-ending step and 5S team leaders must work diligently to continuously monitor work areas for issues. Like the domino effect, overlooking the tiniest amount of dirt leads to growing problems. When Shine is properly implemented, dirt and debris are removed daily so previously unforeseen issues are more evident. Issues can then be fixed sooner and lost time reduced.

When issues do occur, the most comprehensive solution is absolute elimination of all sources of contamination. Although complete elimination is rarely possible in the industrial workplace, integrating additional efficiency improving methods into Shine may help wherever cleanliness goals are not being achieved.


There are a number of mistake-proofing methods managers can use to trace and resolve reoccurring issues. These methods are useful tools in 5S. Two of the more popular methods include poka-yoke (Mistake-Proofing) and Root-Cause-Analysis (RCA). Poka-yoke is a well-known Japanese method, designed to permanently eliminate reoccurring errors from the workplace. Like 5S, leaders follow simple steps to achieve desired goals. Poka-yoke, however, is usually implemented as the result of an individual error and not proactively applied facility wide.

In brief, poka-yoke is implemented once an error occurs. Leaders research the error and associated operations.

All possible reasons for its occurrence are analyzed and documented. This information is then used to identify losses in terms of time and money, and to design and implement a fix for the problem.

Root-Cause-Analysis (RCA) is another method 5S team members can use to trace errors to the “what,” “how,” and “why.” What caused an error and how it occurred are believed to be easily identifiable in RCA. Discovering why an error occurred often requires more effort, but yields the majority of necessary information for correction. A general belief that “errors do not just happen” is strongly advocated in RCA. Leaders embrace this belief and use it as motivation to trace errors to a well-defined cause.

Once a worker is linked to an error they are asked to describe each step they took that may have led to an error. The worker is then asked to explain what led them to make incorrect choices. Eventually, an error’s root cause becomes evident and 5S Team Leaders can use this information

to revise procedures and eliminate reoccurrences. Poka-yoke, RCA, or both, may be used during any step in a 5S implementation.

Put Shine into Action:

1. Photograph workplace before implementing Shine.

2. Explain Shine to workers and set goals.

3. Develop a uniform test to evaluate cleanliness.

4. Stock appropriate cleaning supplies for work areas.

5. Post a calendar of Shine days and times in work areas.

6. Post a calendar of Shine inspections.

7. Assign cleaning and self-monitoring duties.

8. Implement by cleaning and eliminating small imperfections.

9. Post duty task-times.

10. Finish by photographing work areas.