“ A never-ending journey” Sources: KAIZEN Institute The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT (KAIZEN)
Kaizen is the name given by the Japanese to continuous improvement. Continuous improvement really means “continuous incremental improvement.”
改 ('kai') KAI- change
善 ('zen') ZEN- good
Kaizen means making changes for the better on a
continual, never-ending basis.
Masaaki Imai- known as the developer of Kaizen “ KAIZEN strategy is the single most important concept in Japanese management-the key to Japanese competitive success. Kaizen means “ongoing” improvement involving everyone-Top management, managers and workers.” “ If you learn only one word of Japanese, make it KAIZEN.”
Statements on KAIZEN
“ The starting point for improvement is to recognise the need. This
comes from recognition of a problem. If no problem is recognized,
there is no recognition of the need for improvement. Complacency
is the arch-enemy of Kaizen. Therefore, Kaizen emphasizes
problem-awareness and provides clues for identifying problems.”
“ Improve constantly and forever the system of production and
service. Improvement is not a one-time effort. Management is
obligated to continually look for ways to reduce waste and improve
W. Edwards Deming
(philosophy of quality control)
Two elements of KAIZEN
There are two elements that construct KAIZEN:
improvement/change for the better
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.
Kaizen has 3 main principles:
Consider the process and the results.
The need to look at the entire process of the job at hand and to evaluate the job so as to find the best way to get it done.
Kaizen must be approached in such a way that no one is blamed.
Kaizen event steps:
Select an Event
Plan an Event
Implement an Event
Follow-up to an Event
5 ‘S’ in KAIZEN
5S is a method for organizing a workplace, especially a shared workplace (like a shop floor or an office space) and keeping it organized.
To simplify the concept of KAIZEN it offers the following "5S" steps
Sorting- keeping only essential items
Simplifying- eliminates extra motion .
Sweeping- keep the workplace clean
Standardizing- standardized work practices
Sustaining- maintaining and reviewing standards
PUTTING KAIZEN INTO PRACTICE
Role of top management --- top management is responsible for establishing Kaizen as the overriding corporate strategy and communicating this commitment to all levels of the organization and allocating the resources necessary for Kaizen to work.
Role of middle management --- responsible for implementing the Kaizen policies established by top management; establishing, maintaining and improving work standards; ensuring that employees receive the training necessary to understand and implement Kaizen, and ensuring that employees learn how to use problem solving and improvement tools.
Role of supervisors --- responsible for applying the Kaizen approach in their functional roles; developing plans for carrying out the Kaizen approach at the functional level; improving communication at the workplace; maintaining morale; providing coaching for teamwork activities; soliciting Kaizen suggestions from employees and making Kaizen suggestions.
Role of employees --- responsible for participating in Kaizen through teamwork activities, making Kaizen suggestions, engaging in continuous self-improvement activities, continually enhancing job skills through education and training, and continually broadening job skills through cross-functional training.
Eg. Toyota is well-known as one of the leaders in using Kaizen. In 1999 at one U.S. plant, 7,000 Toyota employees submitted over 75,000 suggestions, of which 99% were implemented.
Basic tips for KAIZEN activities
Discard conventional fixed ideas.
Think of how to do it, not why it cannot be done.
Do not make excuses. Start by questioning current practices.
Do not seek perfection. Do it right away even if for only 50% of target.
Correct it right away, if you make a mistake.
Do not spend money for KAIZEN, use your wisdom.
Wisdom is brought out when faced with hardship.
Ask 'WHY?" five times and seek root causes.
Seek the wisdom of ten people rather than the knowledge of one.
KAIZEN ideas are infinite.“
source: KAIZEN Institute
Benefits of KAIZEN
Reduces waste- like inventory waste, time waste, workers motion.
Improves space utilization, product quality
Results in higher employee morale and job satisfaction, lower turn-over.
Widely acceptable-can be used in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing environments, for processes as well as people.
Highly effective and success-oriented-Kaizen events will generate quick results, measurable results, establish the baseline and measure the change.
A learning experience-every member of a Kaizen Team will walk away from the event learning something new
Pitfalls in KAIZEN
Resistance to change
Lack of proper procedure to implement
Too much suggestion may lead to confusion and time wastage