What is KAIZEN?
KAIZEN is a Japanese word meaning gradual and orderly, continuous improvement. The KAIZEN business strategy involves everyone in an organization working together to make improvements ‘without large capital investments’.
KAIZEN is a culture of sustained continuous improvement focusing on eliminating waste in all systems and processes of an organization. The KAIZEN strategy begins and ends with people. With KAIZEN, an involved leadership guides people to continuously improve their ability to meet expectations of high quality, low cost, and on-time delivery. KAIZEN transforms companies into ‘Superior Global Competitors’.
Two Elements of KAIZEN
There are two elements that construct KAIZEN, improvement / change for the better and ongoing / continuity. Lacking one of those elements would not be considered KAIZEN. For instance, the expression of “business as usual” contains the element of continuity without improvement. On the other hand, the expression of “breakthrough” contains the element of change or improvement without continuity. KAIZEN should contain both elements.
BASIC TIPS FOR KAIZEN ACTIVITIES
- a) Discard conventional fixed ideas.
- b) Think of how to do it, not why it cannot be done.
- c) Do not make excuses. Start by questioning current practices.
- d) Do not seek perfection. Do it right away even if for only 50% of target.
- e) Correct it right away, if you make mistake.
- f) Do not spend money for KAIZEN, use your wisdom.
- g) Wisdom is brought out when faced with hardship.
- h) Ask ‘WHY?” five times and seek root causes.
- i) Seek the wisdom of ten people rather than the knowledge of one.