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5S is the name of a workplace organization method that uses a list of five

Japanese words: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. Transliterated or
translated into English, they all start with the letter "S".[1] The list describes how
to organize a work space for efficiency and effectiveness by identifying and
storing the items used, maintaining the area and items, and sustaining the new
order.[2] The decision-making process usually comes from a dialogue about
standardization, which builds understanding among employees of how they
should do the work.

The 5 S's
There are five primary 5S phases: They can be translated from the Japanese as
Sort, Systematize, Shine, Standardize and Self-Discipline. Other translations are

1. Seiri (整理?, sort)

Remove unnecessary items and dispose of them properly

Make work easier by eliminating obstacles

Reduce chance of being disturbed with unnecessary items

Prevent accumulation of unnecessary items

Evaluate necessary items with regard to dept/cost/other factors.

2. Seiton (整頓?, straighten or streamline)

Arrange necessary items in order so they can be easily picked for use

Prevent loss and waste of time

Make it easy to find and pick up necessary items

Ensure first-come-first-serve basis

Make work flow smooth and easy

Can also be translated as "set in order"

3. Seiso (清掃?, shine)
Clean your workplace completely

Use cleaning as inspection

Prevent machinery and equipment deterioration

Keep workplace safe and easy to work

Can also be translated as "sweep"

4. Seiketsu (清潔?, standardize)

Maintain high standards of housekeeping and workplace organization at all times

Maintain cleanliness and orderliness

Maintain everything in order and according to its standard.

5. Shitsuke (躾?, sustain)

To keep in working order

Also translates to "Self-Discipline" meaning to do without being told

Additional S's
Other phases are sometimes included e.g. safety, security, and satisfaction. These
however do not form a traditional set of "phases" as the additions of these extra
steps are simply to clarify the benefits of 5S and not a different or more inclusive
methodology.[citation needed]

 Safety
The phase, "Safety", is sometimes added.[3] There is debate over whether
including this sixth "S" promotes safety by stating this value explicitly, or if a
comprehensive safety program is undermined when it is relegated to a single item
in an efficiency-focused business methodology.

 Security
The phase, "Security", can also be added.[citation needed] To leverage security as
an investment rather than an expense, the seventh "S" identifies and addresses
risks to key business categories including fixed assets (PP&E), material, human
capital, brand equity, intellectual property, information technology, assets-in-
transit and the extended supply chain. Techniques adapted from those detailed in
Total security management (TSM) or the business practice of developing and
implementing comprehensive risk management and security practices for a firm’s
entire value chain.

The Origins of 5S
5S was developed in Japan and was identified as one of the techniques that
enabled Just in Time manufacturing.

Two major frameworks for understanding and applying 5S to business

environments have arisen, one proposed by Osada, the other by Hirano.[5][6]
Hirano provided a structure for improvement programs with a series of
identifiable steps, each building on its predecessor. As noted by John Bicheno,[7]
Toyota's adoption of the Hirano approach, was '4S', with Seiton and Seiso
combined. However, Toyota now uses the 5S as a standard.

Although the origins of the 5S methodology are in manufacturing, it can also be

applied to knowledge-economy work, with information, software, or media in the
place of physical product.


3M the Killer Virus!

It is shocking but true, almost all manufacturing shop-floors are inflicted by the
3Mu Virus! This infection can in fact extend beyond the shop-floor and inflict the
entire organization or supply chain! But today, we will restrict our discussion to
the shop-floor. Though it is a common virus, sadly it is not easy to identify or kill
and it is really challenging to keep it out forever!

3 Mu’s - Muda, Mura and Muri are three Japanese words that roughly translate
into Waste (non valuing adding), Variation and Excess Physical Burden. Just like
human health is dependent on the total absence of any kind of virus (and other
pathogens); similarly shop-floor ‘health’ can be determined by presence or
absence of the 3Mu virus.

1st M – the virus called Muda:

It is a Japanese word that means ‘waste’. Here we refer to waste in activities

within processes and not really waste in its physical form. That heap of material
sitting as defects/ scrap on the shop-floor is not really referred to as Muda
(waste). Muda in this case will be the wasteful activities involved in ‘inspecting’
the production to find the defects or the rework that follows defect detection. So
‘rework’, ‘inspection’, here are the Muda’s (wasteful activities). These activities
are performed by people; it costs money to perform, consumes resources, but
adds NO value. Activity that costs money; but adds no value to the customer
(internal or external) is Muda.

Muda is classically seen in eight forms:

Overproduction: Producing items earlier or in greater quantities than needed by

the customer. Producing earlier or more than is needed generates other wastes,
such as over-staffing storage, and transportation costs because of excess
inventory. Inventory can be physical inventory or a queue of information.

Waiting (time on hand): Workers merely serving as watch persons for an

automated machine, or having to stand around waiting for the next processing
step, tool, supply, part, etc., or just plain having no work because of no stock, lot
processing delays, equipment downtime, and capacity bottlenecks.

Transportation or conveyance: Moving work in process (WIP) from place to place
in a process, even if it is only a short distance. Or having to move materials, parts,
or finished goods into or out of storage or between processes.

Overprocessing or incorrect processing: Taking unneeded steps to process the

parts. Inefficiently processing due to poor tool and product design, causing
unnecessary motion and producing defects. Waste is generated when providing
higher quality products than is necessary. At times extra “work” is done to fill
excess time rather than spend it waiting.

Excess inventory: Excess raw material, WIP, or finished goods causing longer lead
times, obsolescence, damaged goods, transportation and storage costs, and
delay. Also, extra inventory hides problems such as production imbalances, late
deliveries from suppliers, defects, equipment downtime, and long setup times.

Unnecessary movement: Any motion employees have to perform during the

course of their work other than adding value to the part, such as reaching for,
looking for, or stacking parts, tools, etc. Also, walking is waste.

Defects: Production of defective parts or correction. Repairing of rework, scrap,

replacement production, and inspection means wasteful handling, time, and

Unused employee creativity: Losing time, ideas, skills, improvements and learning
opportunities by not engaging or listening to your employees.

2nd M – the virus called Mura:

Mura is a Japanese word meaning "unevenness; irregularity; lack of uniformity;

nonuniformity; inequality", and is a key concept in the Toyota Production System
(TPS) as one of the three types of waste.

Mura, in terms of business/process improvement, is avoided through Just In

Time systems which are based on keeping little or no inventory, rather supplying
the production process with the right part, at the right time, in the right amount,
and first-in, first out component flow. Just in Time systems create a “pull system”
in which each sub-process withdraws its needs from the preceding sub-processes,
and ultimately from an outside supplier.For example:

The assembly line “makes a request to,” or “pulls from” the Paint Shop, which
pulls from Body Weld.

The Body Weld shop pulls from Stamping.

At the same time, requests are going out to suppliers for specific parts, for the
vehicles that have been ordered by customers.

Small buffers accommodate minor fluctuations, yet allow continuous flow.

If parts or material defects are found in one process, the Just-in-Time approach
requires that the problem be quickly identified and corrected. When a preceding
process does not receive a request or withdrawal it does not make more parts.
This type of system is designed to maximize productivity by minimizing storage

3rd Mu – the virus called Muri:

Muri means avoidable physical strain/ burden on people and machines/

equipments at work. Same strain (within defined & safe limits) is to be expected
at work, but when the strain becomes excessive, it becomes a burden It results in
accidents, injury, leading to poor output or quality errors. A person, who in
working in extreme conditions caused due to excess noise, temperature,
fumes,etc,experiences Muri / burden. Muri (overburden) on equipment means
machines that are operating over its safe limits or set performance limits.
Overloading, abuse, poor maintenance etc, causes Muri.

Excess strain or Muri on an operator is to be measured through on site

observations and trails. Of course at times someone sweating profusely or his
strained posture while doing a job is a symptom by it self. Management must
recognize it and fix it. Otherwise Muri will result in Mura – variation!

Strain/ Muri on equipments can be easier to identify. Machines will shudder,

squeak, leak, stop, produce defects and finally protest and STOP!

Kaizen (改善?), Japanese for "improvement" or "change for the best", refers to
philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in
manufacturing, engineering, business management or any process. It has been
applied in healthcare,[1] psychotherapy,[2] life-coaching, government, banking,
and other industries. When used in the business sense and applied to the
workplace, kaizen refers to activities that continually improve all functions, and
involves all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers. It also applies
to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational
boundaries into the supply chain.[3] By improving standardized activities and
processes, kaizen aims to eliminate waste (see lean manufacturing). Kaizen was
first implemented in several Japanese businesses after the Second World War,
influenced in part by American business and quality management teachers who
visited the country. It has since spread throughout the world[4] and is now being
implemented in environments outside of business and productivity.

The Sino-Japanese word "kaizen" simply means "good change", with no inherent
meaning of either "continuous" or "philosophy" in Japanese dictionaries or in
everyday use. The word refers to any improvement, one-time or continuous, large
or small, in the same sense as the English word "improvement".[5] However,
given the common practice in Japan of labeling industrial or business
improvement techniques with the word "kaizen" (for lack of a specific Japanese
word meaning "continuous improvement" or "philosophy of improvement"),
especially in the case of oft-emulated practices spearheaded by Toyota, the word
Kaizen in English is typically applied to measures for implementing continuous
improvement, or even taken to mean a "Japanese philosophy" thereof. The
discussion below focuses on such interpretations of the word, as frequently used
in the context of modern management discussions.
Kaizen is a daily process, the purpose of which goes beyond simple productivity
improvement. It is also a process that, when done correctly, humanizes the
workplace, eliminates overly hard work ("muri"), and teaches people how to
perform experiments on their work using the scientific method and how to learn
to spot and eliminate waste in business processes. In all, the process suggests a
humanized approach to workers and to increasing productivity: "The idea is to
nurture the company's human resources as much as it is to praise and encourage
participation in kaizen activities."[6] Successful implementation requires "the
participation of workers in the improvement."[7] People at all levels of an
organization participate in kaizen, from the CEO down to janitorial staff, as well as
external stakeholders when applicable. The format for kaizen can be individual,
suggestion system, small group, or large group. At Toyota, it is usually a local
improvement within a workstation or local area and involves a small group in
improving their own work environment and productivity. This group is often
guided through the kaizen process by a line supervisor; sometimes this is the line
supervisor's key role. Kaizen on a broad, cross-departmental scale in companies,
generates total quality management, and frees human efforts through improving
productivity using machines and computing power.[citation needed]

In modern usage, it is designed to address a particular issue over the course of a

week and is referred to as a "kaizen blitz" or "kaizen event".[8][9] These are
limited in scope, and issues that arise from them are typically used in later
blitzes.[citation needed] A person who makes a large contribution in the
successful implementation of kaizen during kaizen events is awarded the title of

After WWII, to help restore Japan, American occupation forces brought in
American experts to help with the rebuilding of Japanese industry while The Civil
Communications Section (CCS) developed a Management Training Program that
taught statistical control methods as part of the overall material. This course was
developed and taught by Homer Sarasohn and Charles Protzman in 1949-50.
Sarasohn recommended W. Edwards Deming for further training in Statistical

The Economic and Scientific Section (ESS) group was also tasked with improving
Japanese management skills and Edgar McVoy was instrumental in bringing
Lowell Mellen to Japan to properly install the Training Within Industry (TWI)
programs in 1951.

Prior to the arrival of Mellen in 1951, the ESS group had a training film to
introduce the three TWI "J" programs (Job Instruction, Job Methods and Job
Relations)---the film was titled "Improvement in 4 Steps" (Kaizen eno Yon Dankai).
Thereby, "Kaizen" was introduced to Japan. For the pioneering, introduction, and
implementation of Kaizen in Japan, the Emperor of Japan awarded the 2nd Order
Medal of the Sacred Treasure to Dr. Deming in 1960. Consequently, the Union of
Japanese Science and Engineering (JUSE) instituted the annual Deming Prizes for
achievement in quality and dependability of products.

On October 18, 1989, JUSE awarded the Deming Prize to Florida Power & Light Co.
(FPL), based in the US, for its exceptional accomplishments in process and quality
control management. FPL was the first company outside Japan to win the Deming


The Toyota Production System is known for kaizen, where all line personnel are
expected to stop their moving production line in case of any abnormality and,
along with their supervisor, suggest an improvement to resolve the abnormality
which may initiate a kaizen.

The PDCA cycles

The cycle of kaizen activity can be defined as:

Standardize an operation and activities,

Measure the operation (find cycle time and amount of in-process inventory).

Gauge measurements against requirements.

Innovate to meet requirements and increase productivity.

Standardize the new, improved operations.

Continue cycle ad infinitum.

This is also known as the Shewhart cycle, Deming cycle, or PDCA. Other
techniques used in conjunction with PDCA include 5 Whys, which is a form of root
cause analysis in which the user asks "why" a failure occurred five successive
times, basing each subsequent question on the answer to the previous.[12][13]
There are normally a series of root causes stemming from one problem,[14] and
they can be visualized using fishbone diagrams or tables.

Masaaki Imai made the term famous in his book Kaizen: The Key to Japan's
Competitive Success.[3]

Apart from business applications of the method, both Anthony Robbins[15][16]

and Robert Maurer have popularized the kaizen principles into personal
development principles. In the book One Small Step Can Change Your life: The
Kaizen Way, and CD set The Kaizen Way to Success, Maurer looks at how
individuals can take a kaizen approach in both their personal and professional

In the Toyota Way Fieldbook, Liker and Meier discuss the kaizen blitz and kaizen
burst (or kaizen event) approaches to continuous improvement. A kaizen blitz, or
rapid improvement, is a focused activity on a particular process or activity. The
basic concept is to identify and quickly remove waste. Another approach is that of
the kaizen burst, a specific kaizen activity on a particular process in the value