The 5S is the acronym of five Japanese words which stands for Seiri (sorting), Seiton (setting in order), Seiso (sweeping), Seiketsu (standardizing), Shitsuke (sustaining). In the mid-1950s, 5S was first used in Japan in the manufacturing sector. 5S is the first step to continuous improvement. 5S implementation ensures continuous improvement in housekeeping and results in better environment and safety standards. There is need for developing a common language that is understood by all, so that everyone can communicate with each other in the organization. However 5S is a practice which can’t be implemented without self-discipline. Many problems can be solved by organizing a 5S team. Organizing a 5S team will result in maintaining a quality environment in the organization. Quality environment includes both order and cleanliness. 5S becomes more effective when it is integrated into management system. Support from management level is vital to have potential benefits from 5S implementation. Homes, schools, communities and workplaces can all be improved by 5S activities.


Kaizen has become an important part of the manufacturing system and has lent some useful contribution to the manufacturing success. In many companies the word kaizen has become more common as it indicates a process of continuous improvement. The word kaizen is a compound word which involves two concepts, Kai (change) and Zen (good) for better. Kaizen needs attaching great value to the details and common sense to make every employee cleverer in the organization. Kaizen calls for an effort of improvement and this involves everyone in the organization. Kaizen successful implementation results in healthy atmosphere where everyone in the organization is aware of the primary goals, objectives and measure of success. Kaizen is considered to be more than just a continuous improvement process as it represents daily struggle occurring in the workplace and the manner in which these struggles can be overcome. Models and theories of change such as theory of structure are being integrated with improvements. Initial success of kaizen does not guarantee sustainability, some researchers come with an idea that kaizen events should not be done unless they can done with right intent and activities necessary to sustain results.

Application Process of Kaizen 5S

Below are the steps to take with kaizen 5s during continuous improvement projects.

  1. Definition of the area to be improved.
  2. Major problems analysis and selection.
  3. Identification of cause of improvement.
  4. Improving the project implementation.
  5. Measuring, analysing and comparison of the results.
  6. Standardized systems.

Kaizen 5s covers many techniques which includes kanban, total productive maintenance, six sigma, automation, just in time, suggestion system and productivity improvement.

Kaizen 5s implementation is very easy because no difficult terminologies are present. They are logical, simple and natural to human behaviour. Kaizen 5s should not be considered as a house keeping exercise. To achieve maximum benefits from it, one should develop a habit of not blaming people. Kaizen 5s implementation cannot be achieved if people are being forced to work harder and faster. In order to make a successful Kaizen 5s system most important factors are participation, commitment and support from top level management. After implementing the first ‘S’, the first set of change seen will be the elimination of unwanted items and thus reducing search time. Therefore there is an improved working environment and the space used is maximized. Implementing the 2nd ‘S’ results in easy storage and retrieval of items. There is a place for everything and this prevents misplacement. The 3rd ‘S’ helps to get a clean, safer environment and make a good impression on the visitors. Implementing the 4th ‘S’ will ensure a better workplace standards and visual control systems. Development of team spirit and discipline can achieved by implementing the 5th ‘S’. Implementing kaizen 5s presumes a practical approach and low cost of improvement. Kaizen 5s see every problem as an opportunity for improvement within the organization. Kaizen 5s creates an atmosphere where employee suggestions are valued. Work gets easier in the companies where kaizen 5s are regularly implemented. Work environment becomes more enjoyable resulting in job satisfaction of the employee and higher employee morale. Kaizen 5s activities enrich the work experience and bring out the best in every staff in the organization.