KaizenDefinitionJapanese term for a gradual approach to ever higher standards in qualityenhancement and waste reduction, through small but continual improvementsinvolving everyone from the chief executive to the lowest level workers.Popularized by Mosaki Imai in his books Kaizen: The Key To Japanscompetitive Success.MEANINGKaizen (改善 ?), Japanese for "improvement" or "change for the better",refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement ofprocesses in manufacturing, engineering, supporting business processes, andmanagement. It has been applied in healthcare, psychotherapy, life-coaching, government, banking, and many other industries. When used in thebusiness sense and applied to the workplace, kaizen refers to activities thatcontinually improve all functions, and involves all employees from the CEO tothe assembly line workers. It also applies to processes, such as purchasing andlogistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain. Byimproving standardized activities and processes, kaizen aims to eliminatewaste (see lean manufacturing). Kaizen was first implemented in severalJapanese businesses after the Second World War, influenced in part byAmerican business and quality management teachers who visited the country.It has since spread throughout the world and is now being implemented inmany other venues besides just business and productivity.HistoryAfter World War II, to help restore Japan, American occupation forcesbrought in American experts to help with the rebuilding of Japanese industry.The Civil Communications Section (CCS) developed a Management TrainingProgram that taught statistical control methods as part of the overallmaterial. This course was developed and taught by Homer Sarasohn andCharles Protzman in 1949 and 1950. Sarasohn recommended W. EdwardsDeming for further training in Statistical Methods. The Economic and
Scientific Section (ESS) group was also tasked with improving Japanesemanagement skills and Edgar McVoy is instrumental in bringing LowellMellen 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 atraining film done to introduce the three TWI "J" programs (Job Instruction,Job Methods and Job Relations)- the film was titled "Improvement in 4Steps" (Kaizen eno Yon Dankai). This is the original introduction of "Kaizen"to Japan. For the pioneering, introducing, and implementing Kaizen in Japan,the Emperor of Japan awarded the Second Order Medal of the SacredTreasure to Dr. Deming in 1960. Consequently, the Union of Japanese Scienceand Engineering (JUSE) instituted the annual Deming Prizes forachievements in quality and dependability of products in Japan. On October18, 1989, JUSE awarded the Deming Prize to Florida Power & LightCompany (FPL), based in the United States, for its exceptionalaccomplishments in its process and quality control management. FPL was"the first company outside of Japan to win the Deming Prize."ImplementationThe Toyota Production System is known for kaizen, where all line personnelare expected to stop their moving production line in case of any abnormalityand, along with their supervisor, suggest an improvement to resolve theabnormality which may initiate a kaizen.The PDCA cyclesThe cycle of kaizen activity can be defined as: • Standardize an operation • Measure the standardized 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 infinitumThis is also known as the Shewhart cycle, Deming cycle, or PDCA.Masaaki Imai made the term famous in his book Kaizen: The Key to JapansCompetitive Success.Apart from business applications of the method, both Anthony Robbins andRobert Maurer, PhD have popularized the kaizen principles into personaldevelopment principles. In his book,One Small Step Can Change Your life:The Kaizen Way and his eight CD set, The Kaizen Way to Success, Dr. Maurerlooks at both personal and professional success using the kaizen approach.In their book The Toyota Way Fieldbook, Jeffrey Liker, and David Meierdiscuss the kaizen blitz and kaizen burst (or kaizen event) approaches tocontinuous improvement. A kaizen blitz, or rapid improvement, is a focusedactivity on a particular process or activity. The basic concept is to identify andquickly remove waste. Another approach is that of the kaizen burst, a specifickaizen activity on a particular process in the value stream.WebKaizen Events, written by Kate Cornell, condenses the philosophies ofkaizen events into a one-day, problem solving method that leads to prioritizedsolutions. This method combines Kaizen Event tools with PMP concepts. Itintroduces the Focused Affinity Matrix and the Cascading Impact Analysis.The Impact/Constraint Diagram and the Dual Constraint Diagram are toolsused in this method.Key elements of kaizen are quality, effort, involvement of all employees,willingness to change, and communication.TYPESKaizen is an improvement process that has evolved substantially over theyears. As a result, the term Kaizen has developed to have multiple meanings.There are three types of Kaizen:!) Teaian kaizen - Individual Versus Teamed
While almost all Kaizen approaches use a teamed approach, there is themethod described as Teian Kaizen or personal. This is the more traditionalsuggestion system: Teian Kaizen refers to individual employees uncoveringimprovement opportunities in the course of their day-to-day activities andmaking suggestions.It does not include making the change itself, but simply the suggestion for thechange. This is the only part of the Kaizen culture to focus on the individualinstead of a team. Even so, it does not advocate personal action to improve aprocess, but suggestions by individuals which will then be assessed by a team.2) Quality Circles - Day-to-Day Versus Special EventAn example of a day-to-day Kaizen approach is Quality Circles. Here, anatural work team (people working together in the same area, operating thesame work process) uses its observations about the work process to identifyopportunities for improvement. During any day or perhaps at the end of theweek, the team meets and selects a problem from an earlier shift to correct.They analyze its sources, generate ideas for how to eliminate it, and make theimprovement. This continuous improvement of the work process is made inthe context of regular worker meetings.3) Special events: Kaizen Blitz technique - Large-Scale Vs. Small-ScaleImprovementAlthough Kaizen is a Japanese concept, many U.S. firms have adopted it withconsiderable success by combining the best of traditional Japanese practiceswith the strengths of Western business practice.Traditional Kaizen is, by definition, long term, a gradual incremental changeresults in small improvements throughout the organisation. A Kaizen Blitz orKaizen Event (or as it should be called, Kaikaku) is fast and furious: it rapidlyimplement workcells, improves setups or streamlines processes. Thesemethods plan ahead and then execute a process improvement over a period ofdays.The rules: • Develop a vision of the future. Having defined what is happening now a future state map is created which defines what should be happening if the world was perfect.
Realistic but challenging elements are drawn out from this to create a vision for what life will be like by the end of the week. This could be done during or prior to the event.• Involve everyone. For a blitz to work everyone has to be involved. This may mean shutting down a line or a department for the duration of the event. Planning the event and telling the rest of the organisation is therefore critical. If this proves to be impossible, as many people as possible should be released.• Prepare the group. It is essential that everyone involved is trained in how to perform a blitz. There will be times during the event when people’s paradigms will be seriously tested and, without proper preparation, people will find these times very stressful.• Plan for success. Choosing the right target for a blitz is also critical. The event must be built for success particularly if it’s the first one. Choose something that will have a big impact on the people as well as the organisation. The blitz is not a project tool so selecting something that can be addressed in a week is a challenge. Too big and it will fail, too small and it won’t have the impact.• Keep the kaizen training to what is actually needed for the event. It makes absolutely zero sense to go into the details of a SMED system (Single Minute Exchange of Dies) if your event has no change-overs as an obstacle to improvement.• Provide the kaizen training at the right time. Many kaizen event training programs spend valuable training time the first day teaching how to complete a report out on Friday. By the time Friday rolls around, they end up teaching this portion of the training all over again because everybody has forgotten the lesson during the week. Mention the report out on Monday morning, leaving the details for Friday morning prior to the report out. When Friday arrives, bring the team together for the quick "How-to-do-a-report-out" session and then the team goes to work without many questions.• Properly scale the scope of the kaizen event. How many kaizen events bring an elephant to the table for a small team of five people to try to eat in one week? Keep the scope in line with the resources at hand.• Keep your kaizen goals simple. Many times a kaizen event will put a long list of targets or goals on the team to accomplish, productivity, cycle time, 5-S, floor space, quality,
etc. All these goals are noble and beneficial however they may leave a team running in too many directions. Pick one goal to focus your kaizen team. • Pick the right lean tool for the job and use it well. There are plenty of lean tools to choose for kaizen activities so your must determine the right tool and use it well. • Buy-in, Buy-in, Buy-in. Without buy-in of the operators in a new process, the improvements of the week will not last past the Friday report-out. It is critical to get the process owners to buy-in to the new process. • Go to gemba and stay there the entire week. With the exception of your Monday morning training and eating lunch, your kaizen team must remain in the kaizen area the entire week. It s important to have a meeting table, a few chairs and a flip chart placed in your kaizen area sharing information with the area (along with all those that passed by) throughout the kaizen process. Not only did this remove the muda of walking back and forth to an offsite meeting room, it also limited the team debates on the actual process. Share information on display with your kaizen newspaper for all to see. No secrets, nothing to hide. Even the daily team leader meeting and the final report out were conducted at gemba. • Speak with data. Hearsay or opinion have no place in a blitz. Decisions to make changes are made based on real hard data gained from the current state.ElementsThere are five main elements of kaizen. They are :- • Teamwork • Personal discipline • Improved morale • Quality circles • Suggestions for improvement
What Are The Benefits Resulting From Kaizen?Kaizen is focused on making small improvements on a continuous basis.Kaizen involves every employee in making change—in most cases small,incremental changes. It focuses on identifying problems at their source,solving them at their source, and changing standards to ensure the problemstays solved. Its not unusual for Kaizen to result in 25 to 30 suggestions peremployee, per year, and to have over 90% of those implemented.For example, Toyota is well-known as one of the leaders in using Kaizen. In1999 at one U.S. plant, 7,000 Toyota employees submitted over 75,000suggestions, of which 99% were implemented.These continual small improvements add up to major benefits. They result inimproved productivity, improved quality, better safety, faster delivery, lowercosts, and greater customer satisfaction. On top of these benefits to thecompany, employees working in Kaizen-based companies generally find workto be easier and more enjoyable—resulting in higher employee moral and jobsatisfaction, and lower turn-over.With every employee looking for ways to make improvements, you can expectresults such as:Kaizen Reduces Waste in areas such as inventory, waiting times,transportation, worker motion, employee skills, over production, excessquality and in processes.Kaizen Improves space utilization, product quality, use of capital,communications, production capacity and employee retention.Kaizen Provides immediate results. Instead of focusing on large, capitalintensive improvements, Kaizen focuses on creative investments thatcontinually solve large numbers of small problems. Large, capital projectsand major changes will still be needed, and Kaizen will also improve thecapital projects process, but the real power of Kaizen is in the on-goingprocess of continually making small improvements that improve processesand reduce waste.
EXAMPLES1) The Kaizen attitude requires a willingness to accommodate permanent change.2) Examples of Kaizen are often times the most effective ways of showing just how this method can be used in the workplace. Kaizen, Continuous Process Improvement and many other techniques in Lean Manufacturing involve a great deal of thinking outside of the box, a task that can be quite difficult to do when you have been running with the same operation system and managerial tactics for the life of your business. Thinking differently is much harder than many people think. These examples of how other companies use Kaizen may help to spark some creative ideas of how you can apply similar innovation in your own production system.