5 S Lean Management: Sort and Set in Order

5 S Lean Management: Sort and Set in Order


Sorting is the first phase of 5S. When you sort, you remove items from the work area that aren’t needed for current production needs. This may mean you store them somewhere long-term, move them to a different area or department, or even dispose of them. This process can be aided by red tagging, this is designed to help you sort by going around the work area and putting a red tag on everything that’s unnecessary.


  • Is this item needed?
  • If it is needed, is it needed in this quantity?
  • If it is needed, how frequently is it used?
  • If it is needed, should it be located here?
  • Who is ultimately responsible for the item? (Verify from that person)

Then you can collect all the red-tagged items, put them in a central holding area, and deal with them appropriately item-by-item. At this point the second phase of the 5S method starts, Set in Order. Once the unnecessary items have been removed, you can organise the rest of the items so they’re in the best possible location. Put things in place so they’re easy to access when they’re needed and so their location helps to increase efficiency and productivity, use the below guidelines to help you decide where things are best placed.

  • Items or equipment used hour by hour or day by day should be kept within arm’s reach of the point of use.
  • Items or equipment used once a week or once a month should be kept within the work area.
  • Items or equipment used less frequently should be stored in a more distant location.
  • Unneeded or unnecessary items should be stored in the holding area. – Each department should have their own holding area.

However, it isn’t only equipment and stock that need to be organised, but vehicle and pedestrian traffic alike. Whether it be a waste disposal area, holding area, or walkway, all areas need to be clearly marked and designated.

This can be achieved by using either floor marking tapes or paints, the one you use will depend on the function of the area you will be marking. For permanent areas such as loading bays or pedestrian walkways, line marking paint may be the best choice. Similarly, public areas such as large showrooms would also benefit from using paints and coatings as they carry a more professional, polished look.

Meon has recently launched two new innovative marking solutions, SureStripe W218 and FloorCote W440, available in water-based versions specifically designed for internal markings in facilities. Not only are they low odour, but also have excellent resistance to chemicals, water, oils, greases and mechanical abrasion, making them perfect for marking floors within warehouses.

FloorCote is also available in anti-slip which is an ideal coating for high traffic areas such as pedestrian walkways, reducing the risk of accident or injury. However, if the space is more fluid, and things tend to regularly move around, floor marking tape may be a better option to enable you to make the changes as they are needed.

The tape provided by Meon is the MightyLine floor marking tape. This floor marking tape has no dry time and is easily removed, meaning changes in areas where tape have been used are quickly and easily completed.

When you Sort and Set in Order it increases productivity and efficiency within your facility, by removing unnecessary items, and logically organising the area, it is now clear where staff need to go to find what they need and complete the job at hand. In turn, this should have reduced motion waste as there will be less time spent searching for where something is kept, moving around obstacles, or travelling to where the equipment you need is kept, as hopefully after you Set in Order the required equipment will be easily accessed within the area it is needed.

Further to publishing a FREE white paper on LEAN management, we are currently offering FREE consultations for facilities and have a wealth of knowledge to share with you. We have decades of experience delivering great surfaces, let us help you to deliver them too.

To arrange your free consultation give us a call on 02392 200 606 or email mail@meonuk.com to discuss further.