The 5 S’s of kaizen: the world’s most widely followed Eastern quality management system

If you need discipline and a marked path towards your goals to improve certain aspects, here we bring you the kaizen method so that you can achieve everything you set out to do.

Career development

Surely you have heard of kaizen, an oriental philosophy based on constant improvement. Around it, a method has been created that is based on the 5 s of kaizen. Do you want to know them to apply them to your daily life? In this post, we will tell you about them one by one!

The 5 S’s of Kaizen

The 5 s of kaizen were created by Japanese companies in the 20th century, and they contain the five main points that summarize a whole lifestyle and philosophy based on change towards improvement and productivity. This word is made up of two concepts: kai (change) and zen (kindness). Next, we explain what these five keys consist of:

  • Seiri (Classify): refers to the importance of classifying and separating the necessary elements from the unnecessary ones. The goal is to remove everything that is not essential and priority to improve efficiency. In this step, the disorder must be eliminated, both physical things and thoughts, ideas or processes that hinder.
  • Seiton (Order): after classifying, you have to order each element, that is, give it its space, position and importance. In the case of physical items, everything should have its assigned place, making it easy to locate and quickly access when needed.
  • Seiso (Clean): This principle focuses on maintaining a clean and airy environment. It involves regularly cleaning work areas, equipment and tools. Extrapolated to the mental realm, it would be like keeping ourselves free from thoughts that paralyze us or make us feel bad, making it impossible to work efficiently towards our goals. In this way, in the work environment, accidents can be prevented, the time spent searching for items is reduced, and employee morale is improved.
  • Seiketsu (Standardize) – Here, standards and procedures are established to maintain the first three “S” (sort, order, and clean). Standardization helps ensure that continuous improvement efforts are sustainable over time and become standard practice.
  • Shitsuke (Discipline): The last “S” refers to discipline and self-discipline. It is vital that, first of all, we be disciplined and demanding with ourselves, so that everyone in the work team takes responsibility for their tasks. Discipline involves staying focused on meeting established standards and conducting regular reviews to ensure they continue to be applied correctly.

What is the true origin of the kaizen philosophy?

The Kaizen method has its roots in Japan, dating back to the post-war period of World War II . During the 1950s, Japan was in a very unstable and weak economic situation, so in order to rebuild the country and its industries, it was necessary to find new ways to improve efficiency and productivity in factories and companies. Thus, the leading Japanese companies adopted and developed the Kaizen method as their corporate culture.

The development of Kaizen is mainly attributed to the Japanese engineer and consultant Masaaki Imai, who popularized the term from the 1980s. However, and as we have previously mentioned, William Edwards Deming and Joseph M. Juran also contributed their vision. to the definition of kaizen.

Over time, this approach spread beyond the country’s borders and was eventually adopted by the rest of the world’s industrial powers.

Today, the kaizen method is not only applied to the industry area, but constant improvement is also being carried out with different methodologies in the educational field, in corporate environments, and even in the context of the personal growth

The kaizen method in the company

The 5s methodology in the company is based on kaizen, or as it is known in Europe, lean manufacturing. But the origins go back to the statement of the statistician Edwards Deming, who defended that every process is variable, and that the less it is, the higher the quality of the result.

To assume the kaizen method, you have to eliminate complacency, detect customer needs, monitor the competition and optimize time as much as possible. A pioneer company in following this method for its production was Toyota, the multinational motor company that managed to lower its product price without sacrificing quality thanks to the elimination of superfluous processes, resources and materials. That is, everything that was not essential for the production was eliminated.

But outside of the industry and focusing on the concept of company culture, the kaizen method proposes that all employees progress both in their professional growth and in the achievement of business objectives. And this is done by fulfilling these points:

  1. Selecting small, measurable and short-term objectives that help position ourselves closer to the final objective.
  2. Creating a strong team, united and aligned with the proposed objectives.
  3. Listening to the contributions that come from all the departments of the company, since they will provide very valuable information from various points of view related to the same item.
  4. Analyzing the most significant data from which we start for the objectives to be achieved. This will be done with tools such as: control chart, Pareto principle, dispersion, histogram, check sheets…
  5. Establishing a countermeasure plan that can be carried out as soon as possible.
  6. Following and evaluating the results and visualizing them graphically.
  7. Recording the problems solved so that the process of constant improvement can be verified.

We hope that the kaizen method has been most inspiring for you to start applying it to any area of ​​your life. If you want to learn more tips on professional and personal growth, follow the Educa.Pro blog closely. We are waiting for you!

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