Kaizen, pronounced as “k-eye-zin,”
literally means continuous
improvement and the Kaizen
principle originated from the
Japanese philosophy of work.
The concept of Kaizen became
popular in the United States only by
the late 1980’s.
It was found that the performance of
Japanese companies were much
better than their American
counterparts after applying the
Kaizen (改善), Japanese for
"improvement" or "change for
the best", refers to philosophy
or practices that focus
improvement of processes in
business management or any
The Kaizen Principle
The concept of Kaizen can be
explained as a principle of
According to the Kaizen
philosophy, a series of small
continuously over a long
period of time can result in
drastic improvement in
Limits and Risks
Kaizen is a tool that has to be
used in a business environment
which has long-term goals. Using
the Kaizen principle need not
resolve a particular problem
completely and immediately.
Thus, to implement the Kaizen
philosophy, the practitioners
need to be patient. Thus, the
Kaizen principle is not meant for
Characteristics of Kaizen
• One of the main characteristic of
Kaizen is on finding the root cause of
mistakes made and correcting them.
• Each error is seen as an opportunity
in the path of improvement. Kaizen is
more process-focused than results-
• Kaizen also seeks to improve the
systems rather than the human
• Kaizen practitioners spend a lot of
their time to measure customer
satisfaction and error rates.
• They also make use of meetings
and such opportunities to discuss
avenues for improvement.
• Kaizen focuses on incremental
improvements rather than exact
solutions to problems.
• The focus of small improvements
in Kaizen makes it easier to
• The Kaizen philosophy of work is
to stress employee participation
in decision making process.
Characteristics of Kaizen
A Kaizen blitz or event is when the entire
team involved in a process focuses on one
particular aspect in order to improve its
efficiency and performance. As everyone is
involved, all facets of that particular event
are examined, and with the breadth of the
experience going into the thinking, the
event itself is bound to find some particular
idea or ideas that have not been examined
previously. By tackling all aspects of a
process, the improvements are real and
continuous and result in remarkable
achievements. This leads to a lean
manufacturing program that is very
economical in terms of time, effort and
resources. This can only add to the overall
profitability of a company and its efficiency
How I’ve practiced Kaizen.
• What’s the Big Idea (WTBI)
• HumanaVitality Wellness
… and that is Kaizen.
• Bright Hub PM, Project Planning. Explaining the
Kaizen Principle, 2010. Website:
principle/#imgn_0, Date of access: 04/01/2014,
• Bright Hub PM, Six Sigma. Getting Acquainted
With the Kaizen Philosophy, 2013. Website:
Date of access: 04/01/2014, 04/11/2014.
• Lareau, William. Office Kaizen: Transforming
Office Operations Into a Strategic Competitive
Advantage. Amer Society for Quality; Reprint
edition (July 2002). Print.
• Krajewski, Lee J, Ritzman,Larry P., and Malhotra,
Manoj K. Operations Management: Processes
and Supply Chains, Student Value Edition (10th
Edition). Publication Date: January 21, 2012.