What is lean manufacturing and how does the 5 S’S methodology work?

WHAT IS LEAN MANUFACTURING? More value with less waste. Biggest quantity of value, smallest quantity of waste. Sounds easy, right?


Today we’ll see how the lean manufacturing philosophy has represented a natural evolution for Devoto Design, that was born as a small craft shop and now is an international company that nurtures innovation, value addition and waste reduction. In other words, “continuous improvement“.

To let you get it straight, let’s start with theory: with the term lean manufacturing (or lean production) we define a company management philosophy. It is a particular philosophy that aims at creating processes that can help maximizing the quantity of value produced for the client by reducing waste.

This approach was born in Toyota and takes cues from W. Edwards Deming. The well-known American engineer and academician convinced the managers of the Japanese brand to adopt his production methodology. In a few words, his methodology was based on the idea that to improve quality it was necessary to pay more attention to the improvement of the production processes first, by imposing some significant adaptations since the very beginning of the manufacturing process.

Lean manufacturing, lean thinking

To implement the “lean manufacturing”, then, you need to start with a “lean thinking” first.

Before changing the production processes, it is necessary to change the way you “see” your work, because a good manufacturing starts with a good organization of the working station.

To organize and make your work environment a place suitable for the lean manufacturing, it is advisable to follow 5 principles that in Japanese all start with the letter “S”: Seiri, Seiton, Seison, Seiketsu and Shitsuke.


IN THIS SHORT ARTICLE we’ll have a quick loook at the 5 S’S, at the useful suggestions they represent for our everyday work life. These suggestions can remarkably improve both work environment and production, by positively affecting quality and waste reduction. For more details about this topic, you can look for official releases and consultants specialized in the implementation of this methodology. 

What is lean manufacturing: Sort, Set In order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain

  • SEIRI | SORT. It means to pragmatically and effectively remove all the tools and equipment that are not necessary for the ongoing activities from the working station.
  • SEITON | SET IN ORDER. This step is about organizing the working station so that it can always be easy to pick, spot and use the tools and equipment. 
  • SEISON | SHINE: the control of tidiness and cleanliness. This step involves attention to cleanliness of the working station as well as of the machinery in use in the company. 
  • SEIKETSU | STANDARDIZE: standardize and improve. This step aims at creating a virtuous process for keeping the tidiness and cleanliness  obtained through the previous actions that should be repeated.

And the last S:

  • SHITSUKE | SUSTAIN: maintain over time. The final step is that of creating a habit of always following the privious Ss with discipline and rigour. 

Even though – especially at the beginning – the implementation of the 5 S’S is likely to find resistance in some workers, the lean thinking can undoubtedly bring some significant improvements and benefits to the company:

  • MORE PLEASANT working stations and environment
  • PLUS SATISFACTION in doing your every day work

Other benefits that it is possible to be granted with thanks to the lean thinking:

  • INCREASE of the product quality
  • INCREASE of the client satisfaction 
  • COMPANY growth

Lean manufacturing and waste reduction at Devoto Design

In the last years Devoto has changed his management vision and adopted this approach. All the company departments have been involved in this process and remarkable results have been achieved for what concerns organization, roles, administration, logistics and production processes.

We believe in the lean manufacturing methodology so much that it is at the base of our strategic plan, as well as of our sales goals. Starting with the reduction of waste in all departments, we have been able to minimize our environmental impact and favour eco-sustainability. That’s what lean manufacturing means to us..

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