technically speaking 2

In this industrial blog, learn how to make your technology systems work for you. Become faster, smarter, competitive, and cost-effective in today's rapidly changing marketplace by learning from our experts' collective experience. Bookmark our page (or better yet, subscribe) because we post new articles every Thursday!

Lab 5S and Lean Principles: Your Comprehensive Guide to Lab Organization

Michael Schapoehler
Posted by Michael Schapoehler on Sep 28, 2023 8:45:08 AM

Ensuring efficiency while simultaneously maximizing laboratory production is always a tricky balancing act. One methodology that has repeatedly proven its worth in both areas is lab 5S. Let's dive into what lab 5S includes and explore some tools to help you achieve your production goals.

Skip to a Section

What is Lab 5S? | Benefits of Lab 5S and Lean PrinciplesKey Products for Lab 5S and Lean Principles | Summary 

What is Lab 5S?

Rooted in lean principles, the 5S framework was originally developed by Japanese industrial engineers in the 1950s. Since then, 5S has become a systematic approach to creating workspaces that foster productivity, reduce waste, and ensure a safe and harmonious working environment. 5S is comprised of five steps, each with a specific focus:


sort copyStep 1: Sort

The journey to an efficient lab begins with decluttering, so get ready to unleash your inner Marie Kondo! Start by identifying what is absolutely essential for daily operations and what isn't. Eliminate unnecessary items, and liberate space for what truly matters. A clutter-free lab is not just visually appealing; it's a stage for productivity. A helpful tip is to start and/or end each day with 15 minutes of tidying.


start png Step 2: Set in Order

Now that you've tidied up, it's time to organize. Assign designated spots for each item based on its usage frequency and workflow. This process ensures easy access to the tools you use most, minimizing wasted time hunting for tools or materials. Label your storage areas and consider using clear containers to really up your game!


clean png Step 3: Shine

Cleanliness isn't just about appearances; it's about safety and efficiency. Deep clean and regularly maintain your lab space, from countertops to equipment and storage areas, and encourage everyone in the lab to uphold cleanliness standards. A clean environment makes it easier to notice malfunctions and inefficiencies. 


stand copyStep 4: Standardize

To sustain order, establish consistent procedures and protocols. Develop clear expectations regarding lab practices, labeling systems, and storage methods. This act fosters cohesion among lab members, ensuring the organization remains intact and confidence that lab safety remains high.

sus copyStep 5: Sustain

Lab 5S isn't a one-time project; it's an ongoing commitment. Regularly review and reinforce established practices, conduct audits for improvements, speak to operators, and provide training and support for new lab members. Sustainability is the key to long-term success.


Benefits of Lab 5S & Lean Principles

Implementing Lab 5S and lean principles in your lab offers a multitude of benefits:

Enhanced Efficiency: Reduced time spent searching for equipment and supplies.

Improved Safety: A well-organized lab lowers the risk of accidents.

Better Work Environment: A clean, organized space boosts morale and encourages a culture of cleanliness and organization.

Learn more about Lean Principles in our blog post, Lean Manufacturing 101: Explaining Ergonomics, 5S, and Lean Principles.


Key Products for Lab 5S and Lean Principles

Now, let's take a closer look at some tools from leading vendors that can help you implement Lab 5S and Lean Principles effectively:




Chillers, Desktop, Small: A full range of lab-friendly chillers to maintain optimal temperatures.

Shop SMC Chillers

Valves, Smaller Liquid (LVM): Ideal for precise liquid flow control in lab setups.

Shop SMC Port Solenoid Valve 

Ionizers: Keep your workspace free from static charges that can interfere with sensitive equipment.

Shop SMC Ionizers

Stainless Fittings:
Durable and corrosion-resistant fittings for many lab applications.

Shop SMC Stainless Fittings 

Electric Actuators:
High-quality actuators for precise control in lab automation.

Shop SMC Actuators

SMC Product Configurator   SMC Life Science Catalog


Isolation Valves: Explore their medical brochure for isolation valves designed to meet stringent lab requirements.

Shop Isolation Valves from Clippard

Pinch Valve: A versatile solution for controlling the flow of various fluids in your lab processes.

Learn more about Pinch Valves from Clippard

Learn More about Clippard




Traceability Products: Barcode readers, printers, and printer verification systems to enhance lab efficiency and accuracy. 

Shop Omron Traceability Products 

Mobile Robots: Streamline product transportation within and between labs, enhancing efficiency.

Learn More about Omron Mobile Robots

Collaborative Robots (Cobot): Use them for short-run tasks like product scanning, labeling, and inspection, enhancing overall lab productivity.

Shop Omron Cobots 

Medical Sensors: Ideal for machine builders in the medical industry, ensuring precision and reliability.

Shop Omron Medical Sensors

Omron Life Science Solutions Brochure 



Framing: Workstations designed for chemical resistance and easy cleaning, including vent hoods and chemical resistance.

Shop Rexroth Aluminum Structural Framing & Assembly




Lighting: Ensure a well-lit lab environment to enhance productivity and safety.

Shop Banner Lighting

Learn More about Banner

Incorporating these products along with your lab's 5S strategies can further elevate your lab's efficiency, safety, and overall productivity. Remember, it's not just about what you do; it's also about the tools you use to get there.


Untitled-2-1Lab 5S and Lean Principles are the roadmap to a well-organized, efficient, and safe lab environment.

By following these steps and leveraging the right products, you can unlock the full potential of your industrial manufacturing lab while ensuring the well-being of your team and the integrity of your research and production processes. 


Start your journey to a more efficient lab today! We're here to help.  Complete the form below with your details and share your lab orginzation objectives.  


Airline Resources


Topics: Product Spotlights, Explainers, Lab Safety, Lean Manufacturing

Leave Comment