Kaizen is Japanese and means “Continuous Improvement”. It is a philosophy from Japan that focuses on continuous improvement in quality, technology, processes, company culture, productivity, safety and leadership.
Kaizen is one of the lean tools and involves employees from every level, all the way from the CEO to the people on the floor. It is a system that encourages everyone to come with suggestions for small improvements on a regular basis.
It is not limited to a particular area, but focuses on small changes rather major ones. The philosophy is to continuously improve productivity, safety, efficiency etc. constantly looking at how to do things better.
How to use Kaizen
The purpose of Kaizen is not limited to process improvements, if done properly it is a change of the culture within the organisation. It gets everyone involved and teaches them how to identify and eliminate waste in business processes.
A typical Kaizen event often looks something like this
- Identify an opportunity
- Analyse the current state and develop a plan for improvements.
- Implement solution.
- Review the result.
- Report results and determine if follow-up is needed.
Kaizen can be used for improvement in many different areas, including but not limited to.
- Quality: Improving product, service, environment, processes etc.
- Safety: Decrease unsafe situation, environmental hazards etc.
- Cost: Reduce scrap, employees, machinery, energy etc.
- Management: Reduce time to hire, training, planning, reporting etc.
Why Use Kaizen
Kaizen is an excellent way to implement simple improvement activities, and provides just in time process improvements. By involving relevant stakeholders and empower them to make the changes, Kaizen provide sustainable and continuous improvement to any organisation.
When implementing Kaizen in an organisation, it requires everyone to be involved. The implementation will change the company culture, and get everyone to think of their work in a different way.
- Current State (How are things done today)
- Desired State (How would we like it to be done)
- The journey (How do we get from current to desired state)
When implementing Kaizen across an organisation, there are typically three stages to go through as part of the implementation.
Encourage Participation: Initially awareness training need to be done for all employees. Further encouragement can be achieved by promoting particular Kaizen activities or provide benefits or awards when the event is finished and implemented.
Provide Training: People heavily involved in or leading the event need training to have a proper understanding of Kaizen and the vision with it in terms of the objectives of the business.
Keep Momentum: After the training is done there should be focused on how to keep the momentum long term, so it doesn’t become a “flavour of the month”. Management should create a core department or group to evaluate and implement Kaizen improvements
If interested in getting more information on Kaizen or how to implement it in your organisation, please contact us for a free consultation.
Alternatively you can continue to our Quality Training page to see some of the training we provide.Go to Quality Training