Lean 5S

What are the 5S Lean Principles, and where does 5S come from?

Seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke.

These words may be alien to you now, but in the few minutes it’ll take to read this article, you’ll be singing their praises. You’ll also possess an invaluable tool for cultivating a more efficient, compliant, and organised workplace.

Where does 5S come from?

Although it originally developed in Japan, 5S’s roots are frequently debated.

Some claim that the concepts underpinning 5S come from 16th century Japanese shipbuilders, whose streamlined assembly process allowed ships to be built in a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks.

Others argue that it was officially introduced by Toyota in the 1970s, when their analysts were sent to dissect the assembly line of rivals Ford Motor Company. Based on these findings, Toyota formulated a methodology to surpass their competitors.

So, what exactly is 5S?

Put simply, 5S is a framework for operational efficiency. At first, that might sound like typically vague self-development drivel – but 5S differs from other improvement systems in its applicability.

Translated from Japanese, the five words – Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke – mean Sort, Set In Order, Shine, Standardise, and Sustain. When used as a lean manufacturing tool, these 5Ss eliminate waste, uphold health and safety standards, and cultivate an environment of unrivalled productivity.

What can it help your business with?

Often associated with similar concepts like Six Sigma or Kaizen, 5S is starting to gain traction in the food industry. Research has proven its effectiveness across a variety of workplaces, with benefits including:

  • Happier staff – your team will appreciate your efforts to make their job easier through a more pleasant and manageable working environment.
  • Amplified productivity – logical workspace organisation decreases downtime and time-consuming misunderstandings (not to mention that if your staff are happier, they’ll be more productive).
  • Tidier and safer workspace – both Sorting (Seiri) and Shining (Seiso) make your workspace tidier, which contributes to eliminating health and safety risks.
  • Better quality and lower prices – increased efficiency makes your products more consistent and of better quality, resulting in increased profits, as well as the option to reduce prices for your loyal customer base.

How can you implement 5S?

1) Sort (Seiri)

There is a growing body of studies addressing direct methods of implementing the 5S Framework. Of course, these applications are dependent on the type of workplace they are intended for. However, overarching recommendations can be made regarding implementation at each of the five stages:

2) Set In Order (Seiton)

Consider the layout of your current workstations. Do your workers have to excessively relocate to get to the places they need to be? Do they waste precious time searching for the tools that they need?

Setting in order ensures that staff don’t waste time searching for tools and utensils that aren’t in the right place. This could involve drawing up a 5S Map of your workplace, or using the ever-popular Shadow Boards and Tool Stations.

3) Shine (Seiso)

This is an easy one – simply keeping your factory floor or food production space clean and tidy. We suggest regular hygiene practices, including scheduled clean-downs and ‘clean as you go’ policies, in addition to black bag audits and consistent inspections to ensure that everywhere is kept pristine. This will ensure that people can work in a mess- and risk-free environment (important for productivity and morale). It also ensures that machinery is properly cared for – extending work life and saving replacement costs.

4) Standardise (Seiketsu)

By writing down what is being done, where, and by whom, you can officially incorporate new practices into normal work procedure. This paves the way for long-term change.

Before writing any Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), observe employees to see where problems arise, and which methods work most consistently. Consult employees to double-check each stage, and ensure the process feels natural.

Common tools for this process include:

5S Checklists – listing the individual steps of a process makes it easy for workers to follow that process completely. It also provides a simple visual management tool to check progress later on.

Job Cycle Charts – identify each task to be performed in a work area, and decide on a schedule or frequency for each of those tasks. Then, assign responsibility to a particular worker (or job duty). The resulting chart can be posted visibly to resolve questions and encourage accountability.

Procedure Labels and Signs – provide operating instructions, cleaning steps, and preventative maintenance procedures exactly where that information is needed.

5) Sustain (Shitsuke)

Implementing a 5S approach is not a one-off event. The fifth step, Sustain – or Shitsuke, which translates literally as ‘discipline’ – follows the idea of continual commitment. As a framework, 5S is most effective when habitualised and re-applied over and over.

Depending on the workplace, steps might include:

  • Management Support
  • Department Tours
  • Updated Training Procedures
  • In-House Progress Audits
  • Performance Evaluations

Whatever programme or methods you deem most suitable for your organisation, getting the basics of the first four steps right makes ongoing success easier to sustain.

Feel ready to implement the 5S Framework in your workplace?

Check out our gallery of Shadow Boards, used by the likes of Lidl, Tesco Maintenance, McDonalds, Aston Martin, and Bakkavor, or chat with one of our consultants: 01473 461 800.

How Much Do Shadow Boards Really Cost?

Breaking Down the Pricing of the Most Popular Organisational Tool in the Food Industry

Since Klipspringer popularised shadow boards in 2011, they’ve steadily grown into an industry staple.

Huge companies such as Two Sisters, Morrisons, Dominoes, Cranswick, Hovis, Domino’s, and Coca Cola have recognised the utility of shadow boards for improving hygiene standards, health and safety, and efficiency.

Few refute these benefits. However, the price of shadow boards varies so much that our customers often ask us:

“How much does a shadow board actually cost?”

When addressing the cost of a product, most articles usually put something like ‘it depends’, entirely avoiding any sort of specific price point. And of course, the price of a shadow board is dependent on various factors, from size, to material, to fixing and mounting methods.

However, this doesn’t mean we can’t provide you with a ballpark price of a shadow board by type. The three most common types of shadow board are tool boards, cleaning stations, and visual management boards.

Below is a breakdown of each, with an approximate price range:

Tool Boards

 Cleaning Stations (Wall Mounted/Magnetic)

Cleaning Stations (Mobile/Free Standing)

Visual Management

Used to store a set of related tools and supplies

Used to group hygiene-related apparatus for ease of access and usage/colour segregation. Price typically includes cleaning utensils.  

Used to group hygiene-related apparatus for ease of access and usage/colour segregation. Price typically includes cleaning utensils.  

Used to communicate essential information (e.g. procedures, maps, objectives)





For specific examples and prices, click here to view our range of ‘Buy It Now’ cleaning stations.

Three key considerations when breaking down the price of a shadow board are durability, customisation, and return on investment.

Is the board made from high-quality, long-lasting material? Can you embellish your true company branding, moving beyond the basic name and logo? Will the board offer a strong ROI, for instance through improved audit scores, or boosted productivity in line with the 5S Principles?

Klipspringer’s shadow boards meet all three criteria. Of course, we’re favourably biased towards our own products (wouldn’t you be worried if we weren’t?), but it is justified by our state-of-the-art print and production facilities, clarity of visual communication, and magnetic mounting options.

But ours aren’t the only shadow boards on the market. We get that. Not only do we acknowledge that there are plenty of other capable manufacturers out there, but we’re open in admitting that, at Klipspringer, our shadow boards are more expensive than the industry bog-standard.

Read on to find out why that is.

Why Klipspringer?

Most shadow boards are effective at storing tools, circumventing non-compliances, and maintaining hygiene standards.

That said, not all shadow boards are created equal.

These benefits depend on the quality of craftsmanship, reliability of mounting method, and efficacy of visual communication, all of which is determined by the Shadow Board Process.

At Klipspringer, this process entails six separate steps.

Firstly, the specification. We find out the customer’s precise requirements, including colour, equipment, and printed content.

Secondly, the quotation. Within one working day of the initial enquiry, we send a personalised quotation summarising the customer’s needs.

Thirdly, the order. The customer accepts the quotation and/or provides us with any necessary amendments.

Fourthly, the proofing. Our design team complete the artwork proofs (see below), before sending them to the customer for final confirmation.

Penultimately, the print. Using our cutting-edge print and production facilities, our in-house production team strive to complete the order promptly.

Lastly, the delivery. Once printed, machined, and sealed, boards are despatched to the customer within 5-7 days (one of the quickest turnaround times in the industry), or even sooner if deadlines require.

This carefully refined six-step process has resulted in Klipspringer’s firm establishment as the industry leader in bespoke shadow boards. But don’t just take our word for it – our boards have also been advocated by the likes of Tesco Maintenance, Bradley’s Metal Finishers, and Fulfil Food Solutions.

Other key factors distinguishing our shadow boards from the crowd include…

1) Five High-Quality Fixing Methods

From sturdy direct mounts and stand offs, to free-standing frames and wheeled frames, to our much-admired magnetic shadow boards, we have an option to suit each circumstance.

2) Long-Lasting, Lightweight Material

While some continue to favour unsustainable foam-set options, our shadow boards are made of 6mm composite aluminium. A robust neoprene core is incorporated within the aluminium sheets, resulting in strong, water-resistant material that is safe to use in food environments, as well as being cost effective.

3) Unmatched Equipment Colour Variety

With 11 distinct colours, Klipspringer leads the industry in range of colour-coding utensils. Avoid cross-contamination and non-conformances with explicitly colour-coded equipment and corresponding shadow boards.

4) Anti-Scuff Laminate

To increase durability, we exclusively use heat-sealed, anti-scuff laminate, maximising adhesion (preventing any peeling) and ensuring your boards look good as new for years to come.

5) Through-Board Hook System

Last but certainly not least, we offer a through-board hook system. This entirely unique feature of Klipspringer shadow boards means that there are no hidden crevices or small parts. It ensures that your board is hygienic, easy to clean, and free of any foreign body risks.


Where To Get Started

Having overviewed the ballpark costs of various types of shadow boards, revealing Klipspringer’s six-step production process and unique features, this article has given a comprehensive breakdown of shadow board prices.

If you want more information, take a look at our shadow board overview page, or contact our experienced shadow board team: 01473 461 800.

If you already know which shadow board option you require, check out our ‘Buy It Now’ range, or fill out our Shadow Board Enquiry Form for a free quotation.

Shadow Boards: An Industry Staple for Workplace Management?

Everything You Need To Know About Shadow Boards

Picture a workplace with equipment scattered everywhere. Mops and brushes carelessly left in corners of cupboards and washrooms. Toolboxes and drawers jumbled with hard-to-find engineering tools.

Does this signify efficiency, cleanliness, and professionalism to you?

According to a leading audit body, 60% of non-conformance issues relate to poor housekeeping of small manufacturing and production utensils.

Whether it be in the food production industry, pharmaceutical industry, or retail and hospitality industry, organisational planning is fundamental to a professional, fully functioning workplace.

Few deny this. However, there remains some dispute over how best to facilitate such planning. After all, tracking dozens if not hundreds of tools is no mean feat – let alone keeping them ordered, visible, and easily accessible.

This is where shadow boards come in. Used by the likes of Two Sisters, Arla, Cranswick, Morrisons, Bakkavor, Hovis, Dominoes, Kerry, and Coca Cola, shadow boards provide a dedicated home for cleaning equipment, small utensils, and mobile tools. In the last decade, they’ve become an indisputably popular solution.

But how exactly do they work?

This article unpacks everything important there is to know about shadow boards. Written by our expert team at Klipspringer, it draws on a decade’s worth of knowledge as the industry leaders in shadow boards since popularising them in 2011. It details the main types of shadow board, outlining each type’s function, and offering actionable next steps for those seeking to learn more.

And yes, as you’re probably already thinking – we do sell shadow boards. We are biased towards our own range (wouldn’t you be worried if we weren’t?). But the purpose of this article isn’t to sell our shadow boards. It was written to inform the reader in deciding if shadow boards are applicable for their business, and, if so, what type of board suits them best.

So, what are shadow boards?

Put simply, shadow boards are storage solutions which support hygiene standards, health and safety, and efficiency. There are three principal formats:

1) Tool Boards

Tool shadow boards house a set of related tools and supplies. Each tool has a designated area (a ‘shadow’) and is securely fixed by either a fixing or mounting, as seen below.

Rather than equipment strewn haphazardly across work surfaces, every item is safely stored and accounted for. While tool boards are often made for standard equipment (such as hammers, spanners, and screwdrivers), they should also be able to accommodate more bespoke tools, from machine equipment to spare parts.

2) Cleaning Stations

Based on the same design principles, cleaning stations group hygiene-related apparatus for easy access. Whether by department, production line, or industry-specific segregation (e.g. allergens), colour-coded cleaning stations prevent any non-compliant overlap in equipment use.

For example, tools for cleaning the production area of an allergen (e.g. nuts) should never be re-used on another production line, due to risking cross-contamination and audit failure. Clear visual communication prevents this from ever occurring.

3) Visual Management

By making crucial information visual and digestible, shadow boards bolster understanding – a must in compliance contexts. Invaluably, employee procedures, site maps, or team objectives can be communicated at a glance, saving time, preventing confusion, and minimising costly error.

Visual management shadow boards are applicable across a range of scenarios, including:

  • KPI Monitoring and Tracking
  • Safety & Site Signage
  • Quality Standards
  • Instrumentation Standards
  • Short Interval Control
  • Root Cause & Benefit Analysis
  • Shift Changeover Boards
  • Dress Procedures
  • Near Miss & Accident Tracking

Visual management shadow board for Heineken

Why use Shadow Boards?

“Shadow boards are an unnecessary luxury”. Chances are you’ve heard this complaint from some managers and budget holders before. Admittedly, it may be true – depending on company values. Shadow boards are useless … for companies that don’t prioritise hygiene, health and safety, or efficiency.

For innovative, compliance-oriented organisations, shadow boards are a budgeted staple. Drawing on the 5S Principles, shadow boards are proven to:

  • Minimise costly errors and non-compliances
  • Increase equipment longevity (and therefore production)
  • Reduce replacement costs and tool-searching time
  • Improve audit scores
  • Cultivate an ordered workplace environment
  • Overcome written and verbal communication barriers

Where to get started with Shadow Boards

That said, not all shadow boards are created equal. These numerous benefits depend on the quality of craftsmanship, level of customisation, and efficacy of visual communication. Another key consideration is the cost of shadow boards, which varies depending on which type of board is required, and its various features.

At Klipspringer, we pride ourselves on all of the above. Since 2011, we’ve been the industry leader in bespoke, visually compelling shadow boards, using our state-of-the-art design, print, and production facilities to satisfy the likes of Tesco Maintenance and Bradleys Metal Finishers. Our boards are characterised by unrivalled production quality, design processes, and production turnaround times, allowing us to form partnerships that enhance standards on a daily basis.

Already know which type of shadow board you require? Fill out our Shadow Board Enquiry Form so our team can contact you to progress your project as quickly as possible.

Want more information? Click here to read about the exact features of our customised shadow boards.

Klipspringer Announce Attendance at Hotel, Retail and Catering Show

21 – 23 March 2022, Excel London

The Klipspringer team are very excited to be joining over 1500 food service and hospitality suppliers at the Hotel, Retail and Catering (HRC) Show at the Excel London on 21st and 23rd of March 2022. With it being the first HRC Show since 2019, industry professionals are coming back to reconnect with peers and explore the latest technology and innovations out there.

Event Highlights

There’s a host of incredible experiences to explore, watch and take part in, from hosting the UK’s most prestigious cooking competition – International Salon Culinaire, to welcoming the UK’s top chefs and culinary experts to cook up a storm on The Staff Canteen Live. Plus, a Tech X stage where you will see renowned speakers discuss the latest trending topics set to impact our industry for 2022 onwards.

How Klipspringer is supporting commercial kitchens

Klipspringer’s range of innovations takes the guess-work out of food safety for commercial kitchens, helping them to increase compliance, efficiency and cost-saving measures. Some of these include the Food Oil Monitor, the Trakkd Digital Quality Management System and the new Lazaport Mono.

Find out how the Lazaport Mono has helped Mark Reynolds, Executive Head Chef at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, to save time and increase compliance within his team, by watching the video.

Register for your free ticket below!

Re-connect with industry peers and explore new innovations and technologies to drive your operations forward. Be sure to book your ticket below and and meet us on Stand P481.