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Shine: The Third Step in the 5S Methodology


Shine is the third and often undervalued step in the 5S methodology. It relates to cleanliness and the absence of unnecessary dirt and debris.  Shine is a crucial part of Lean Management. Here is a look at how to implement the distinction in the workplace.

What does Shine mean in the 5S methodology?

Shine is derived from the Japanese word Seiso (清掃). All materials, including equipment, tools and supplies, and work-related objects, should be examined and cleaned in this third step. 

Shine is the process of cleaning and maintaining all aspects of the work environment. The work environment should be free of dirt, debris, and other types of contaminants. Reducing or eliminating mess ensures that the work environment is as safe as possible. It allows for machinery and workers to operate productively and efficiently. 

Implementing Shine in the workplace is more than merely sweeping up dirt or mopping up a spill. It is an ongoing process that requires the foresight and vigilance of all staff. Employees need to understand what to clean, how to clean it, and how often. It is the natural progression that follows Sort, the removal of unnecessary items, and Set in order, the careful organization of the items that are necessary.

As with Sort and Set in order, Shine needs to be performed by the staff that works in the area. If the workers that create the mess are also responsible for cleaning up, the associates will start to show a different appreciation for the workplace. After all, we spend at least a third of our lives at work, why wouldn’t we want to work in an uncluttered, organized and clean environment?

How to Implement Shine

To begin, identify and assess the work area. Define what the area looks like in its clean state and document it for comparison. Taking pictures is an excellent way to do this. It establishes a standard and makes it easier to notice when something has changed. 

Next, determine what messes are likely to happen and how to prevent them or react if they do happen. Equip work areas so that handling messes is simple. They should be fully stocked with appropriate cleaning supplies to clean them up. 

Train employees so they understand expectations around cleaning. Establish cleaning duties and define roles. Both checklists and schedules can support this. Checklists should be easy to follow and written so essential steps are clear. Schedules help identify what needs to be cleaned, when, how often, and by whom. These assign clear roles for employees and establish a productive cleaning routine. 

Establish the cleaning routine, then maintain and evaluated it. Employees need to understand what is working, what is not, and what can be done to improve the system. The cleaning system can then be adjusted accordingly. 

Employees who are responsible for shining their workplace take responsibility for not messing it up in the first place. If the schedule rotates through all employees, everyone is vigilant to ensure they are not creating unnecessary work for their colleagues to clean up. Their colleagues, it is hoped, will do the same for them.

Benefits of the Shine Step: 

Here are some benefits of the Shine process from the 5S methodology:

  • Improve safety. 
  • Reduce risks, injury, and worker compensation costs. 
  • Diagnose cleanliness issues proactively. 
  • Increase worker productivity by ensuring that there are no obstacles to efficient work processes.
  • Reduce manufacturing and maintenance costs. Regular cleaning keeps machines in working order, so they do not need to be fixed or replaced as frequently. 
  • Limit exposure to potential health hazards. 
  • Eliminate unnecessary clutter and waste, which frees up space for other work-related use. 
  • Creates accountability for the cleanliness of the workplace and ensures a 5S culture among the team members.

The Shine Step Should Be Proactive 

The Shine step is an active process. Clean workspaces so that a mess doesn’t become a burden. The Shine step in 5S is designed as a preventative measure that is both active and anticipatory and not reactive. 

Regardless of the job, a messy workspace causes unnecessary stress. It is distracting; it can be unhealthy and can affect productivity and efficiency. So employees must be diligent when performing and evaluating the Shine step to ensure that a workspace is clean and well maintained. 

After Shine is Standardize

Read about Standardize: The fourth step in the 5S methodology 

More Lean 5S Methodology Links

Here are some more helpful links to help you learn about the 5S Methodology: