Kaizen

Kaizen

Kaizen is a Japanese word and refers to “change for better”. It is often used in the context of business and refers to all improvements activities from the worker down on the ground to as high as the CEO. The word can also be applied to the purchasing and logistics process. Interestingly it has also been used the medical industry, psychotherapy, government, financial institution , and other industries.

By continually improving processes, Kaizen aims to eliminate waste. It was first developed after the Second World War and was influenced by USA business and quality management experts. It is now widely utilized across the world (e.g. South Africa) and is used in areas other than business.

Kaizen has the following characteristics:

  • It should be performed daily,.
  • Humanizes the work environment and reduces difficult and onerous work (“muri”) with a focus on increased productivity. Praises and encouraged participation in kaizen activities is essential.
  • Work experiments are a key tool to identify and reduce waste.
  • Involvement of all workers is key at all levels ( CEO down to laborers)
  • Applicable projects can range from big to small. For example at Toyota, it is usually a small / local project guided by a line supervisor.

Key components of Kaizen include:

  • Top management involvement
  • Top management involvement
  • Top management involvement
  • Establishing organization dedicated to Kaizen
  • Establishing step by step process to undertaking Kaizen.
  • Appointing top people to do Kaizen initiatives
  • Training and education

Although the word “kaizen” translated means “change for better”, there is no reference to “continuous” or to a specific “philosophy” in the vocabulary of every day Japanese.  However, in recent times it now encapsulates the principles of implementing continuous improvement and has become a “ philosophy”.

The principles of Kaizen are linked into the lean six sigma training. Lean six sigma training can be arranged throughout South Africa (Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town etc). In this course key components are discussed

 

Kaizen

Kaizen

 

For information please refer to the lean six sigma course.

For a full list of courses see our soft skills and computer courses.

 

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