The Lean Office Blog

9 Benefits of Conducting 5S Audits Digitally

Today’s post highlights several benefits of conducting 5S Audits digitally.

A few weeks back, we released an exciting new module for The Lean Office – 5S Audits. You can read more about the module’s features here, Some of you may be asking – why should I use a software tool for conducting 5S Audits? What’s wrong with just using a clipboard? I think rather than shaping this as a “good vs. bad” post, this will be a “good vs. better” review of the benefits. Read on below to discover several benefits that we’ve observed from using a software tool to conduct your 5S Audits digitally.

1. Everyone can access 5S Audits immediately

One of the biggest benefits of using software to conduct 5S Audits is the ability for everyone to quickly access the same information. When an audit is conducted on a clipboard, it can take days for that information to be processed and presented in reports and visuals. In a digital environment like The Lean Office, this same information is distributed immediately after clicking the “Save” button. The sooner others know the information, the sooner they can react and address any problems uncovered during the audit.

2. Old 5S Audits are saved and easy to find5s audit filing cabinet

What happens when you want to review the previous six months of audits for an area to see if something has improved or gotten worse? Typically, you have to visit a filing cabinet and shuffle through papers (if they are even saved) to find what you’re looking for. In The Lean Office, it’s as simple as clicking a link to review all previous audits. Not only are they all saved, but they are easy to reference, saving you significant time and frustration.

3. Data is already captured and ready for analysis

In most cases, at least some of the data being collected during a paper-based 5S Audit is eventually translated into computer form. Also, that data is typically summary data, not the details of the audit. What if you wanted to know which scoring criteria had the lowest overall performance over the past year across all areas? The only way to arrive at that information in the paper-based model would be to go back and refer to all past audits and enter that information manually into a computer. However detailed your organization chooses to be in the information that gets manually entered into a computer after audits are complete, it all represents re-work that could be eliminated by capturing the information digitally in the first place.

4. Best for the MilLEANial generation5S Audits MilLEANials

Do you know they don’t even teach cursive writing in school any longer? The next generation of leaders (The MilLEANials are Coming!) will require a new approach to managing and engaging with employees. According to this post, “More than one-in-three American workers today are Millennials, . . . (and) they expect instant access to information, as well as instant feedback.” Part of respecting people is listening to their input, and the input being heard from this generation is “more technology, please!”

 5. Built-in visual management

When you score 5S Audits in The Lean Office, each of the criteria immediately turns green or red based on the score. Later, others viewing the audit can see scoring details at a glance. The area owner can use this audit to quickly identify which criteria need attention. Also, there’s just something about looking at a screen full of green boxes instead of red boxes that provides additional incentive for those responsible for an area.

6. Save and manage 5S Audit action items5S Audit action items

In many cases, a 5S Audit isn’t over until the auditor has reviewed a list of changes that need to be made in an area to receive a perfect score on the next audit. What happens to those action items in a paper-based format? Hopefully, the auditor remembers the list of changes at the end of the audit. Hopefully, the auditor remembers to communicate them to the area owner. Hopefully, the area owner remembers to write those down on a to-do list. Hopefully, the area owner remembers to refer back to that to-do list and actually complete the list before the next audit. Hopefully, the auditor remembers to review those changes during the next audit. That’s a LOT of “Hopefully”, isn’t it? In The Lean Office’s new 5S Audits module, the auditor can add action items as they occur directly into the audit. The area owner will automatically be assigned the action items on their personalized Action Items list and receive alerts on the day they are due, and the auditor can refer back to the open and closed action items during the next audit. We’ve observed a significant improvement in action item completion from our customers using The Lean Office to manage to-do list items.

7. Customized and available scoring templates

Our 5S Audits module allows users to create and manage an unlimited number of 5S Audit templates. You can decide to manage the entire operation with one single audit form, or create customized audits based on the unique needs of the Shipping and Accounting departments, for example. Also, because all of the audits are available via online software, you won’t spend any time searching for a specific template in stacks of paper. Finally, if a template gets updated, everyone immediately has the most up-to-date version. No need to scour the entire facility for rogue or outdated audit forms!

8. Prompts to complete auditsinbox 5S Audit

I’m one of those people who needs to clear the little red number next to my mail or social media icons on my phone before I shut down for the day. Some people call this “Inbox Zero”, but I call it the only way to live. If your 5S Audit process is managed on paper, or scored on a whiteboard, it can be very easy to skip several weeks or months before someone points out the late audits. However, if you have a personalized alert that notifies you of a late task, you are more likely to conduct the audit when it is scheduled, not when long overdue.

9. Support 5S Audits with photos

Last, but certainly not least, is the ability to attach pictures to 5S Audits stored in The Lean Office. Even if you can easily locate old paper versions of an audit, there’s really nothing better for reinforcement and observation than a picture. With The Lean Office, you can take and upload pictures directly from a tablet or smartphone, making it simple to attach and reference pictures down the road.


While the most important part of 5S Audits remains actually conducting the audit, there are several benefits to using The Lean Office to manage your 5S Audit process.

The Lean Office is a software tool designed to help Lean organizations who have moved beyond tools and events, and are implementing their own Lean Management System. Click here to find out more!

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