5S Game – Productivity thru 5S

5S is often thought of as a housekeeping technique. Of course, we rearrange materials and machines as part of 5S. However, this is not the whole context.

5S can be seen as the start point of productivity improvement initiatives and the simplest platform for people engagement.

In continuation of the article on 5S and several 5S workshops, I wanted to share the 5S game.

The 5S Game

This game depicts the use and effectiveness of the 5S methodology.

This is a simple and over-the-desk game that can be played during classroom training sessions using pre-printed papers and two different colour pens.

I use this during the workshops and found it more useful in demonstrating the need and implementation approach of each step of 5S.


There is no prerequisite for playing this game, except copies of the game sheets and some blue and red pens.

There is no restriction on the number of participants, though you can play it effectively between 4 and 20 members.

The Game Plan

We have 6 rounds of the game, covered over six sheets.

Form teams of preferably 2 members. Provide them only one sheet at a time in the sequence. The task is to draw a line using a pen/pencil on the paper connecting the numbers one to sixty. Target time – 30 seconds.

The line has to be drawn connecting the numbers in sequence, without skipping any number in between.

Round 1: Our Production Floor

This round exemplifies the practical situation of a conventional production floor, without the application of 5S.

Generally, people find it difficult to connect until 10 to 15.

CSense 5S Game - Round 1
5S Game – Round 1

Round 2: The need for Sorting

Assign participants the task of Applying Red Tag as part of 1S.

I usually give them the following set of questions.

  • Identify an equipment / material
  • Ask – Is it useable?
  • If Yes, then ask – is it useable here?
  • If Yes, then ask – is it required now?
  • In case the answer is yes, then ask – is it required this much?
  • If you get “No” to any above question, affix a RED TAG on the item and move it to RED TAG AREA.

In our game, ask the participants to mark (strikethrough or encircle) the unwanted items in the sheet of Round 1 using a red pen.

Then Issue the Sheet of Round 2, saying that all the unwanted items were removed from the shop-floor.

CSense 5S Game - Round 2
5S Game – Round 2

Then, start the stopwatch and ask them to connect the numbers from 1 to 60.

In this Round, they will easily search and find out more numbers.


  1. Visibility on the shop floor improved.
  2. It is easy to find the required materials.
  3. Navigating/moving through the shop floor has become easier and safer.
  4. Productivity Improved significantly.

Round 3: Setting in Order

The Objective of 2S is to minimise searching and unnecessary movements of people on the shop floor. Ask the participants to suggest an arrangement of required items on the sheet. It is obvious! We need to arrange the numbers in rows and columns in sequence.

Give them the sheet 3 and ask them to repeat the task.

You see the results improved. More team have achieved the task within 30 seconds.

CSense 5S Game - Round 3
5S Game – Round 3

Round 4: Cleaning and Inspection

When we play this round, there is an obvious advantage to the people. By now, they become familiar with the location of the numbers, as the numbers are arranged, and they had connected them in the previous round.

In many instances, people will find out that the number 36 is missing in the sheet only during this round.

This demonstrates the power of sorting followed by regular cleaning and inspections.

CSense 5S Game - Round 4
5S Game – Round 4

Round 5: The Standardisation

By Round 4, participants would have comfortably achieved the task of connecting the numbers one to sixty within 30 seconds.

Round 5 will be a cakewalk. The standardisation of sequence and the shape of the numbers will reduce the burden and need to look at each number.

Round 5
5S Game – Round 5

Round 6: Sustenance and Continual Improvement

Participants would have achieved their best in the previous round, connecting all the sixty numbers within 30 seconds. They would be cherishing their accomplishment.

Ask them “is it enough?”

And proceed to play Round 6. Once they have done, you may compare their results as well as experience in Round 6.

Round 6
5S Game – Round 6


The game broadly covers the entire journey of 5S principles. The rounds can also be comprehended to cover the 1S, 2S and 3S. The game suits both approaches. Drawing the lines (rows and columns) can be compared with the “A Place for Every Item and Every Item in their Place” and the “Yellow Lines”.

Similarly, the direction arrows can be attributes as Visual Management.

5S Game Sheets – Download

The concept of this 5S game is available widely on the internet. I created my own version and I am happy to share it with you. You may freely download the sheets and use them for training your team members or clients.

Let us create a better-organised world!