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Originating in Japan as a workplace organizational method, the 5S system translates in English to Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. This tool and its five pillars have been widely adopted by the manufacturing world as a key component to the larger, lean manufacturing system, which aims to eliminate waste from production processes. In a forklift shop, ensuring your space is clean, clutter-free, and highly organized is the first step in a long chain of best practices for optimizing operational efficiency.

Forklift shops in need of a spring cleaning that lasts throughout the seasons can kickstart by following the below blueprint:

Sort Kenco_Using a 5S system_Tools

  • This step involves going through all your shop’s tools, materials, and equipment to determine what is essential to your operation 
  • The technicians maintaining forklifts need their tools and parts organized for smooth workflows
  • Disorganization leads to downtime and inefficient workflows

Set in order

  • Once all unnecessary items are out of the way, you can begin to arrange the tools, parts, and materials that you deem essential in the most effective way to streamline your processes
  • Determining what arrangements are most logical must be a collaborative effort, and requires thinking through tasks, their frequency, and the paths taken through your space to accomplish them


  • With your shop space in order, maintaining its cleanliness can often be overlooked, although it is an area that can add great value
  • The way your environment looks plays an important role in customers’ and contractors’ perceptions of your business
  • When an employer takes pride in their environment, employee morale, engagement, and productivity increases
  • Customer confidence and satisfaction increases, as well as compliance efforts during OSHA-related inspectionsKenco_Using a 5S system_Checklist


  • Now that your space is clean and organized, it’s time to make the process that brought you there easily repeatable
  • Systematizing the previous processes and turning them into habits through checklists, regularly assigned tasks, and well-defined instructions are vital to avoid letting orderliness fall by the wayside
  • Regular maintenance on required equipment and forklifts is part of this pillar as well
  • When your materials, parts, and inventory are all in place, you know when your inventory is low and can order parts proactively


  • The final phase of 5S involves keeping the overall system running smoothly while ensuring your entire team is engaged and involved in its continued organization
  • Management participation is crucial to ensure new hires are immediately aware of how they should and are expected to operate

Kenco_Using a 5S system_ForkliftWhen looking to begin the transformative process of implementing a 5S system in your forklift shop, finding a partner with proven success in this initiative can dramatically increase the speed in which you see results. Kenco’s engineered approach will tailor the 5S system to your business, providing the organization and structure most effective for you. Enhanced customer relationships, increased workforce morale, and increased productivity are just the highlights of successes your forklift shop will see by leveraging the 5S system.