Kaizen is a finite resource. With everything that has to be done in workplace, HR reviews, planning, ISO/ABSA/FSA audits and others, working with suppliers and customers and the basics of getting production, design and admin done there is only so much time for improvement activities. And sometimes there may be no time at all.
Where to do kaizen needs to be a strategic decision. For the effort put in you need to get the largest benefit possible. At the start of a lean journey 5S and work flow are the obvious areas to put effort in. Even then for a larger organization a valid question is where to do 5S. As a company's lean journey progresses the question becomes more critical. This is where mapping, particularly value stream mapping is so important.
A value stream map shows where in a process a company adds value to a product. More importantly it shows where a company invests effort and produces no value. This is where effort needs to be invested to reduce and eliminate waste.
Is the kaizen effort you are putting in getting the best return?
Or are you investing more and more effort for smaller and smaller improvements?
Wasted effort in kaizen activities is know as suicide kaizen.
Someone who redoubles his efforts when he’s forgotten his aim. — Philosopher George Santayana defining a fanatic