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Lean Manufacturing & 5S

Simple Steps to Implement 5S Right Now

While there are hundreds of steps you can take and products we can offer you to fully engage in 5S protocols, there is a definite starting place and a few products that will work best to get you started.

The first step is to memorize the 5S steps and go through your plant floor practicing them. This costs you little money, but does require your time and dedication.

The 5S rules are:

Seiri – sort, clearing, classify

Seiton – straighten, simplify, set in order, configure

Seiso – sweep, shine, scrub, clean and check

Seiketsu – standardize, stabilize, conformity

Shitsuke – sustain, self discipline, custom and practice

Some simple directions for each “S”: Sort through and throw away items not necessary (Seiri); straighten and organize in way that produces the most efficiency (Seiton); clean up the work area (Seiso); create a standardized way of organizing tasks or items throughout the entire work area or plant floor (Seiketsu); sustain your new protocols and practice (Shitsuke).

5S and Visual Cues

Most all of the 5S steps put organization as a central facet to implementation. As advocates for visual organization, our products serve as valuable tools to achieve success with 5S protocols.

Being visually organized is one of the keys to a business achieving optimal productivity and offering a safe and efficient workplace for employees.

When planning a 5S organized workplace, there are a variety of ways to get started. Most 5S and Lean consultants recommend planning out goals and ways to measure success; getting buy-in from management and employees; making the success of 5S implementation the responsibility of management and employees – together; sketching out a step-by-step plan of how 5S will be implemented and who is responsible for each step; plans for review and continuous improvement.

Another important step in implementing 5S is for management and employees to discuss tools that will make 5S implementation work best.

That’s where we can help. We’ve built our business on offering solutions for businesses seeking to get their workflow organized, more productive and safer for employees. Stop-Painting designs and manufactures hundreds of visually instructive cues that help our customers meet their productivity goals.

5S Tools and Products

Here’s a few of our top selling products that help our client’s implement 5S protocols.

Aisles and Pathways Floor Tape

While every facility is going to need something different when it comes to floor markings, there is one thing all workplace floor markings have in common – they serve as an important safety guide to show employees safe and productive paths throughout the facility. When managed and designed properly, floor markings can improve safety and cut down on waste.

One of the most common uses for floor markings is designating aisles and paths – especially in warehouses or storage facilities. This practice matches up with the 5S Seiketsu step which advocates for classifying and standardizing. Aisles are typically busy areas where employees traverse the floor while moving products and machinery moves around, also moving products. It is VERY important you clearly mark floors to prevent accidents and using visual cues (like floor markings) is a great way to standardize the message.

Deciding where and what kind of markings to put on your workplace floor should take some careful thought and input from a variety of sources, including employees working on the workplace floor. Think about where and when employees and machines need to be separated, blind spots around corners, size of aisles and placement of inventory.

The most innovative technique for applying floor cues throughout a workplace is with a high quality industrial tape floor marking.

At, floor marking is what we do and our flagship product, Superior Mark™ tape is the most resilient, most flexible and all-around best tape on the market. Superior Mark Tape is produced in-house at our North Carolina facility, using heavy-duty PVC. Competing tapes have an average of 3 mils thickness, while Superior Mark Tape™ is 32 mils thick. The tape is easy to clean and can be removed in one piece. Superior Mark Tape™ is also uniquely constructed with a patented design featuring beveled edges and a recessed adhesive – this helps it stay down when under heavy machine traffic.

Labels and Label Protectors

Labels and label protectors are visual devices or cues that indicate what goes where. Labels are used for tool or inventory placement/replacement, warehouse inventory picking, inventory locating services, bin or tote identification and aisle identification. Using high-quality warehouse signs and labels to post clear, concise descriptions of items and locations is a critical step in a well-run warehouse, distribution center or plant facility.

The 5S Seiton step is a good place to use some labels. Coming after sorting and cleaning out unneeded tools and steps, Seiton is all about simplifying and setting in order. Labels and label protectors  are a great way to get that process started by using cues that will be easy to understand by all.

While we offer a variety of labels and label protectors, we highly recommend our Superior Mark floor tape labels as they are the most durable and most likely to resist scuffing and scraping. They are especially valuable as floor labels where industrial equipment may frequent.

Tool Placement Signs

As consistent organization is key for successful 5S implementation, using visual cues to direct employees to proper storage of tools and materials can ensure these items are always easy to find for all.

We offer visual cues to use with placement and storage of ladders, pallet jacks, work tools, packaging materials, dock areas, pick-up and drop-off areas, PPE equipment, mobile equipment and more. Many initial organization efforts can start off strong and then fall short as the novelty of the new program wears off. Using our adhesive floor signs and floor marking tape to offer a visual cue to remind employees of the proper placement of tools, equipment and designated locations can make the difference in how employees Shitsuke – or sustain a new protocol.

Pallet Corners

One of the top cited areas for organizational improvement in busy work area is PALLETS. Empty pallets or product pallets need to be tightly organized and having agreed upon locations to store them is imperative.

One visual cue to help with this effort is our pallet corner markers. Using corner markings to show where pallets should be placed is the most utilized method of organizing pallets and offers an efficient visual cue to help employees get pallets safely out of the way and in a location everyone is aware of.

Because the ideal pallet locations may need to be amended as orders or resources change, using easy to apply and remove floor tape is a better option to painted markings. Whereas painted lines may take as much as two days to be applied, Superior Mark™ floor tape can be applied, removed and reapplied in minutes. The tape can be removed in one piece, with no leftover residue, making it ideal for Lean and 5S initiatives that require layout flexibility.

Want more information about 5S or our products to help with 5S implementation?

Check out our Resource Center for more information about 5S or Lean implementation

We’ve got a great online game that teaches the basics of 5S practices in a fun way is a leading manufacturer of indoor and outdoor marking tapes and signs. helps facility and safety managers create more productive and safer workplaces by communicating with visual devices and visual cues.

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