What is the 5S program? How does it relate to business?

Did you know that the 5S program originated from housewives trying to arrange for the whole family to help with household chores?

Well to be more accurate, it was Japanese housewives, a people of ancient customs and traditions. They knew how to take the best results from such simple practices and apply them to business management, taking the 5S system to companies worldwide!

Housekeeping is another name commonly given to this program which is based on concepts that form a cycle.

What is the 5S program? -The 5 senses

The 5 S’s that give the name to this program come from the Japanese words they represent:

  • Seiri: Use
  • Seiton: Storage
  • Seiso: Cleaning
  • Seiketsu: Standardizing
  • Shitsuke: Discipline

See also: 3 Tools for the improvement of quality and processes

The 5S program in Japanese companies

During the 60s the Japanese government decided it needed to improve the competitiveness of its manufacturers. For this, it was determined that they would pursue quality at all costs. Why not take advantage of these five concepts already ingrained in the culture of the country?

In this context, the 5S program has become part of everyday business in Japan, being a simple and effective tool for attaining total quality.

Benefits achieved with the 5S program in Japanese companies

  • Redesign of processes
  • Involvement of professionals at all levels of management
  • Sharp improvement in organizational climate
  • Increased productivity
  • Industry becomes competitive
  • Improvement in quality of life
  • Motivated employees
  • More efficient processes
  • Inclusion of Japanese industry in the international arena

Currently, in the search for competitiveness, companies use management focused on processes with the help of BPM tools.

Learn more: Housekeeping and 5S: Do you know the difference?

What is the 5S program in business? -Each concept’s meaning


It means Use. Its goal is to do away with any workspaces, production or administration, which do not have utility and can hinder the progress of operations and processes.


Storage. It takes into account the importance of organizing the work environment effectively so that you can dispose of materials and inputs without loss of time and in appropriate amounts.


Cleaning. A concept that may seem obvious but is often overlooked. Its aim is always to keep the workplace clean and tidy.


Standardization. As the name suggests, it is the creation of a standard with rules and well-defined behaviors to maintain and incorporate the three previous concepts intrinsically integrated into the organizational culture of the company.


Discipline. Ensures that all levels, whether directors, officers or employees should be involved and helpful, always encouraging continuous improvement.

Now that you have an answer to ‘what is the 5S program’, Check out: Understand what is total quality and how it is related to continuous improvement management

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