Want FREE Templates on Organization, Change, & Culture? Download our FREE compilation of 50+ slides. This is an exclusive promotion being run on LinkedIn.







Flevy Management Insights Q&A
What emerging technologies are expected to have the most significant impact on the evolution of 5S practices in the next decade?


This article provides a detailed response to: What emerging technologies are expected to have the most significant impact on the evolution of 5S practices in the next decade? For a comprehensive understanding of 5S, we also include relevant case studies for further reading and links to 5S best practice resources.

TLDR IoT, AI, and AR/VR technologies will significantly transform 5S practices, driving Operational Excellence through real-time monitoring, predictive analytics, and immersive training.

Reading time: 4 minutes


Emerging technologies are poised to significantly impact the evolution of 5S practices within the next decade. As organizations strive for Operational Excellence, the integration of these technologies into 5S—Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain—will not only enhance efficiency but also foster a culture of continuous improvement. This discourse delves into the technologies expected to have the most profound effect on 5S practices, providing C-level executives with actionable insights to steer their organizations towards future readiness.

Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Sensors

The Internet of Things (IoT) and smart sensors stand at the forefront of transforming 5S practices. These technologies enable real-time monitoring and management of resources, equipment, and work environments. In the context of Sort and Set in order, IoT devices can track tool usage and location, facilitating efficient workspace organization and reducing time spent searching for tools or equipment. For instance, McKinsey highlights the potential of IoT in manufacturing environments to increase operational efficiency by up to 25%. Smart sensors, on the other hand, can ensure that machinery and workspaces are maintained at optimal conditions, directly contributing to the Shine aspect of 5S by enabling proactive maintenance and cleanliness.

Moreover, the data collected through these technologies provide a foundation for Standardize and Sustain. Organizations can analyze usage patterns and environmental conditions to develop best practices and maintenance schedules, ensuring that improvements are not only implemented but also adhered to over time. This approach not only optimizes operational efficiency but also extends the lifespan of assets, contributing to sustainability goals.

Real-world applications of IoT and smart sensors in 5S practices are increasingly evident in industries ranging from manufacturing to healthcare. For example, hospitals utilize IoT devices to track equipment and manage inventory, ensuring that critical tools are always available and maintained, thus enhancing patient care and operational efficiency.

Learn more about Internet of Things Best Practices

Are you familiar with Flevy? We are you shortcut to immediate value.
Flevy provides business best practices—the same as those produced by top-tier consulting firms and used by Fortune 100 companies. Our best practice business frameworks, financial models, and templates are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with 20+ years of experience.

Trusted by over 10,000+ Client Organizations
Since 2012, we have provided best practices to over 10,000 businesses and organizations of all sizes, from startups and small businesses to the Fortune 100, in over 130 countries.
AT&T GE Cisco Intel IBM Coke Dell Toyota HP Nike Samsung Microsoft Astrazeneca JP Morgan KPMG Walgreens Walmart 3M Kaiser Oracle SAP Google E&Y Volvo Bosch Merck Fedex Shell Amgen Eli Lilly Roche AIG Abbott Amazon PwC T-Mobile Broadcom Bayer Pearson Titleist ConEd Pfizer NTT Data Schwab

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies are revolutionizing 5S practices by enabling predictive analytics and intelligent automation. These technologies can analyze vast amounts of data from various sources, including IoT devices, to identify patterns, predict needs, and automate decision-making processes. In the context of Standardize, AI algorithms can determine the most efficient organization and maintenance practices based on historical data, customizing 5S standards to the unique needs of each organization.

Furthermore, AI and ML can significantly enhance the Sustain element of 5S by providing insights into the effectiveness of implemented practices and identifying areas for improvement. For example, AI-powered analytics can monitor compliance with standard procedures and predict potential deviations before they occur, allowing organizations to proactively address issues. This capability is crucial for maintaining high standards of quality and efficiency in fast-paced environments.

Accenture's research underscores the impact of AI in operational settings, noting that AI technologies can improve productivity by up to 40% by automating routine tasks and enabling data-driven decision-making. Real-world examples include AI-driven robots used in manufacturing for tasks such as sorting and assembly, which not only improve efficiency but also reduce errors and enhance safety.

Learn more about Machine Learning

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies offer innovative ways to support and enhance 5S training and implementation. Through AR, employees can receive real-time guidance and visual cues for organizing workspaces, performing maintenance tasks, or identifying non-compliance with 5S standards. This hands-on approach to training and support not only accelerates the learning process but also improves adherence to 5S practices.

VR, on the other hand, can simulate various scenarios and environments for training purposes, allowing employees to practice 5S implementation in a risk-free virtual environment. This immersive experience is particularly beneficial for Standardize and Sustain, as it enables employees to understand the rationale behind 5S practices and the impact of their actions on overall operational efficiency.

Organizations such as Boeing and Walmart have successfully implemented AR and VR for training and operational purposes. Boeing uses AR to guide technicians in the assembly process, resulting in reduced errors and improved efficiency. Walmart employs VR for employee training, enhancing learning outcomes and operational readiness. These examples underscore the potential of AR and VR to transform 5S practices by making them more interactive, engaging, and effective.

In conclusion, the integration of IoT and smart sensors, AI and ML, and AR and VR into 5S practices presents a strategic opportunity for organizations to enhance Operational Excellence. By leveraging these technologies, organizations can not only improve efficiency and sustainability but also foster a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. C-level executives are advised to consider these technologies in their Strategic Planning and Operational Excellence initiatives to ensure their organizations remain competitive and future-ready.

Learn more about Operational Excellence Employee Training Strategic Planning Continuous Improvement

Best Practices in 5S

Here are best practices relevant to 5S from the Flevy Marketplace. View all our 5S materials here.

Did you know?
The average daily rate of a McKinsey consultant is $6,625 (not including expenses). The average price of a Flevy document is $65.

Explore all of our best practices in: 5S

5S Case Studies

For a practical understanding of 5S, take a look at these case studies.

Visual Management System Redesign for Professional Services Firm

Scenario: A mid-sized professional services firm specializing in environmental consulting is struggling with inefficient Visual Management systems.

Read Full Case Study

E-Commerce Inventory Management for Niche Gaming Retailer

Scenario: The company, a specialized gaming retailer operating exclusively through e-commerce channels, has seen a significant uptick in demand.

Read Full Case Study

5S System Implementation for a Large-Scale Manufacturing Firm

Scenario: A large-scale manufacturing organization is grappling with inefficiencies, inconsistency in quality, and safety hazards in its operational area.

Read Full Case Study

5S Methodology Enhancement for Aerospace Defense Firm

Scenario: The organization operates within the aerospace defense sector, facing challenges in maintaining operational efficiency amidst stringent regulatory requirements and complex supply chain operations.

Read Full Case Study

Visual Workplace Transformation for Construction Firm in High-Growth Market

Scenario: A mid-sized construction firm specializing in commercial building projects has recently expanded its market share, resulting in a complex, cluttered visual workplace environment.

Read Full Case Study

E-Commerce Visual Workplace Transformation for Retail Apparel

Scenario: The organization, a mid-sized e-commerce platform specializing in retail apparel, is facing significant challenges in maintaining an efficient and effective Visual Workplace.

Read Full Case Study

Explore all Flevy Management Case Studies

Related Questions

Here are our additional questions you may be interested in.

How can companies balance the need for digital transformation with the risk of digital overload among employees?
Balancing digital transformation with minimizing digital overload involves Strategic Planning, Change Management, personalized employee training, leveraging technology for workload management, and promoting digital wellness to foster a positive work environment. [Read full explanation]
How can augmented reality (AR) be further leveraged within the Visual Workplace to improve training and operational procedures?
Augmented Reality (AR) enhances Visual Workplace training and operations by providing interactive, real-time guidance and feedback, improving efficiency, safety, and learning outcomes. [Read full explanation]
How does Visual Management support decision-making processes at the strategic level?
Visual Management enhances Strategic Decision-Making by offering clear data visualization, fostering Strategic Alignment, improving Communication, and supporting a Data-Driven Culture, crucial for navigating complex business environments effectively. [Read full explanation]
What role does data analytics play in enhancing workplace wellness programs and initiatives?
Data analytics enhances workplace wellness programs by enabling personalized, effective initiatives through understanding employee needs, improving engagement, and accurately measuring impact and ROI. [Read full explanation]
How are emerging technologies like AI and IoT reshaping traditional workplace organization and employee productivity?
AI and IoT are revolutionizing workplace organization and employee productivity by automating tasks, enhancing decision-making, fostering Innovation and Collaboration, while also necessitating Upskilling, robust Data Governance, and strategic implementation to address challenges like privacy, job displacement, and the digital divide. [Read full explanation]
How can 5S principles be effectively communicated and ingrained in a company culture that has historically resisted organizational changes?
Effectively implementing 5S principles in a resistant culture requires understanding resistance, strategic leadership, customized training, measurable goals, and a focus on Continuous Improvement, fostering a receptive and adaptable organizational environment. [Read full explanation]

Source: Executive Q&A: 5S Questions, Flevy Management Insights, 2024


Flevy is the world's largest knowledge base of best practices.


Leverage the Experience of Experts.

Find documents of the same caliber as those used by top-tier consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, Accenture.

Download Immediately and Use.

Our PowerPoint presentations, Excel workbooks, and Word documents are completely customizable, including rebrandable.

Save Time, Effort, and Money.

Save yourself and your employees countless hours. Use that time to work on more value-added and fulfilling activities.




Read Customer Testimonials



Download our FREE Strategy & Transformation Framework Templates

Download our free compilation of 50+ Strategy & Transformation slides and templates. Frameworks include McKinsey 7-S Strategy Model, Balanced Scorecard, Disruptive Innovation, BCG Experience Curve, and many more.