How to Apply 5S - Dishpit Hell -

Before 5S: Dish Room at a busy restaurant.

The wait help and bussers throw their dirty dishes in the Dishpit mixing food with glass and china everywhere leading to broken glass. There is no organization which creates a hazardous environment.

5S -

Step 1: Sort

We sort through the dishes and cups by throwing away trash and broken shards of glass and china. We throw the compostable trash in one receptacle, and the non compostable in another. We also scrape the excess food particles off the dishes.

Dishpit Hell - Sort -

Step 2: Set In Order

We set in order the Dishpit (dish room) by stacking the different plates and bowls in their appropriate group, stacking the cups in their proper crates, and by placing the utensils in the soak bin.

Dishpit Hell - Set In Order -

Step 3: Shine

We shine the Dishpit by cleaning the dirty dishes, cups, and utensils in the dishwasher at a proper rinse temperature. We place the clean shiny dishes in the appropriate area. We hose and scrub down the area and finally squeegee the excess water away.

Dishpit Hell - Shine -

Step 4: Standardize

We standardize a process where the wait help and bussers scrape off their dishes before stacking them in their proper groups in the Dishpit. They place trash in the side receptacles, all utensils in the soak pan, and they stack all cups in their proper crate or neatly on the side.

Dishpit Hell - Standardize -

Step 5: Sustain

We sustain the Dishpit by coaching the wait help and bussers in our new standardized process. They communicate with the dishwasher when it starts to get busy to maximize efficiency and flow of the restaurant.

Dishpit Hell - Sustain -

By following 5S, we decreased broken china and cups and we increased financial savings, productivity, and safety! Thank you 5S and! Our Dishpit Hell is now more of a Dishpit Heaven (if a dishpit could ever be heavenly!).

Have you applied 5S at work or at home? Share your story with us in the comments below!

Karlo Tanjuakio

Karlo is the CEO of He ensures you and your organization have all the support you need for an exceptional experience both learning and applying Lean and Six Sigma to help you achieve your goals.
  • Sargent Chumley

    I loved this article. I found it to be a very fun way of illustrating Lean Six Sigma.

    • GoLeanSixSigma

      Thanks for your feedback, Sargent!

  • Andy l

    Working as a LSS specialists process improvement has become some professional deformation. I did a 5s with my daughter to clean up her desk and to improve her homework “process”!

    • GoLeanSixSigma

      What a great way to use 5S! Thanks for sharing!