Kaizen or Continuous Improvement

Kaizen or Continuous Improvement

→ Kaizen or (Continuous Improvement) word comes from the Japanese words “kai” which means “change or improvement” & “zen” which means “for betterment.”
→ The popular meaning of Kaizen from Toyota is “continuous improvement” or small incremental improvements” of all areas of a company, not just manufacturing.


1) Introduction of Kaizen (Continuous Improvement):

→ A Kaizen event should be part of an overall program of continuous improvement.
→ Improvements are based on many small changes rather than the fundamental changes.
→ The fundamental changes are related to Reseach and Development.
→ As the ideas come from the workers themselves, they are easier to implement.
→ Small improvements do not require major capital investment or major process changes.
→ All employees should continually be seeking ways to improve their own performance.
→ It helps encourage workers to take ownership of their work and can help reinforce the team working, thereby improving worker motivation.

Introduction of Kaizen

2) History of Kaizen (Continuous Improvement):

→ The history of Kaizen begins after World War II when Toyota first implemented quality circles in its production process.
→ This was influenced in part by American business and quality management teachers who visited the country.
→ A quality circle is a group of workers performing the same or similar work, who meet regularly to identify, analyze and solve work-related problems.
→ This revolutionary concept became very popular in Japan in the 1950s.
→ The concepts of the quality circle also continue to exist in the form of Kaizen groups as well as similar worker participation schemes.
→ The term Kaizen actually became famous around the world through the works of Masaaki Imai.
→ Masaaki Imai is a Japanese organizational theorist and management consultant, known for his work on quality management, specifically on Kaizen.
→ He published two fundamental books on business process management

History of Kaizen

⇒ "Kaizen: Japanese spirit of improvement” (1985), and
⇒ "Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management" (1997)

 3) Key Kaizen Approach:

→ There are three Kaizen approach   
    3. Standardize
Key Kaizen Approach

4) The five foundation elements of Kaizen (Continuous Improvement):

Kaizen has five fundamental elements as mentioned below:
    1. Teamwork.  
    2. Personal discipline. 
    3. Improved morale.  
    4. Quality circles. 
    5. Suggestions for improvement

Elements of Kaizen

5) Criteria of Kaizen (Continuous Improvement):

→ Several criteria of Kaizen is:  
    1. Does Kaizen reduce waste, Improve Quality or Increase Safety?  
    2. Similarly, Does It Address the Root Cause?  
    3. Does Kaizen relate to Standardize?

Criteria of Kaizen

6) The ten Principles of Kaizen (Continuous Improvement):

    1. Improve everything continuously.
    2. Eliminate old and traditional concepts.
    3. Accept the things, no give any excuses and make things happen.
    4. Don’t Assume New Methods Will Work.
    5. If something is wrong then correct it.
    6. Empower everyone to take part in problem-solving.
    7. Get information and opinions from multiple people.
    8. Before making decisions, ask “why” 5 times to get to the root cause (5 Why Method).
    9. Be economical. Save money through small improvements and spend the saved money on further improvements.
   10. Remember that improvement has no limits. Never stop trying to improve

7) Kaizen Umbrella:

→ One of the most important tasks in Kaizen involves improving the quality of work in an organization by achieving TQC (total quality control).
→ The Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) method is now a base model for other quality improvement methods.
→ The elements of Kaizen Umbrella is:  
    1. Total Quality Control  
    2. Quality Circle  
    3. Suggestion System  
    4. Automation  
    5. Discipline in the Workplace  
    6. Customer Orientation  
    7. Total Productive Maintenance  
    8. Robotics  
    9. Kanban  
    10. Quality Improvement  
    11. Just in Time  
    12. Zero Defect  
    13. Small Group Activity  
    14. Management Relations  
    15. Productivity Improvement  
    16. New Product Development    

Kaizen Umbrella

8) The 5W and 1H of Kaizen (Continuous Improvement):

→ Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) method work toward perfection by eliminating waste (Muda) in the workplace (gemba). 
→ The goal of Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) is production without wastes by improving standardized activities and processes. 
→ Industrial engineer Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System, noticed that there is an 80% loss in every process and the value of the process is less than 20%.

5W and 1H of Kaizen

9) What are the "Kaizen eyes"?

→ "Kaizen eyes" see opportunities to improve. 
→ These eyes are a skill that can be developed through technique and practice

➤ Different Ways to develop “Kaizen Eyes”: 

→ Put yourself in someone else's role 
→ Visit other places 
→ Take the pictures 
→ Draw the value stream map 
→ Ask yourself what normal should look like 
→ Check the process 
→ Audit the standard work 
→ Generate logic for improvement and validate it. 

10) Examples of Kaizen:

→ The Example of Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) is mentioned below

Example of Kaizen

11) Management's Role in Kaizen:

→ Communicate the need to change 
→ Demonstrate the personal commitment to process improvement 
→ Educate and train the staff 
→ Plan and implement for Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) 

12) Different Category of Kaizen (Continuous Improvement):

→ Different Category of Kaizen is:
    1. Productivity Improvement
    2. Quality Improvement
    3. Safety
    4. Cost Optimization
    5. Moral
    6. Delivery
    7. Environment

Category of Kaizen

13) Benefits of Kaizen (Continuous Improvement):

→ Empowers employees enrich the work experience and bring out the best in every person.
→ Promotes personal growth of employees and the company.
→ Improves quality, safety, cost structures, delivery, environments and 
Kaizen Improves customer service/satisfaction.

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See Also:
➨ 5S Methodology - A Lean Manufacturing Tool
➨ Traditional thinking Vs Lean thinking? - Lean Manufacturing
➨ Kaizen (Continous Improvement) - A Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma Tool
➨ The 8 Wastes in Lean Manufacturing - Lean Manufacturing
➨ PDCA Cycle - A Lean Manufacturing Tool