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Building Continuous improvement culture with the help of Kaizen

Building Continuous improvement culture with the help of Kaizen

Jul, 30th 18

Kaizen is a Japanese approach towards productivity that focuses on eliminating waste and encouraging continuous improvement by applying changes on a daily/regular basis. The word Kaizen means ‘good change’ in Japanese. This strategy encourages the proactive involvement of employees at all levels in an organization to steadily achieve collectively set goals.

Quiz Question

 Kaizen is?

a)      Statistical concept

b)      Mathematical concept

c)       Small process improvement

d)      None of the above

 

One of the best examples for organizations using the Kaizen approach is ‘Toyota’. It has been using the continuous improvement method as a crucial strategy and reaped huge benefits from it. Employees are encouraged to suggest possible improvements for the betterment of the company and the approach is followed by everyone working for the organization — right from the CEO to labors. It creates a sense of oneness among the employees, which enhances efficiency and productivity in the workplace.

 

Talking about the history, Kaizen emerged after the World War 2. It was introduced to western parts of the world through Masaaki Imai, a management consultant. He offered the Kaizen training all over the world and in almost every variety of business with Kaizen Institute Consulting Group.

 

Now, let’s take a look at the principles of Kaizen,

 

  • Let go of old practices

 

  •  Get rid of assumptions

 

  • Never stop improving

 

  • Be proactive

 

  • Look for the root cause by ‘Five why’ method

 

  • Encourage participation and contributions

 

  • Consider collective advice

 

  • Cut down the expenses and make improvements

 

  • Avoid chasing perfectionism

 

  • Look for solutions constantly

When practiced religiously, these simple principles hold the power to make huge positive changes in an organization. It aims to build a healthy and productive work environment. The Kaizen approach follows an improvement cycle which involves seven steps,

 

Involvement:

 

The first step is to encourage the participation and involvement of employees from all the levels. This helps in gaining a wide range of perspective from all parts of the organization.

 

Assessment or locating problem areas:

 

The second step is to gather all the information from the employees and analyze their feedback for possible improvement areas. This step involves locating the weak spots that can be focused on throughout the cycle.

 

Find solutions:

 

In the third step, employees are encouraged to suggest effective solutions to the problem being encountered. It helps employees have a proactive approach and the best solution can be applied.

 

Test the solution:

 

The finalized solution is now implemented throughout the organization and tested for feedback from each department.

 

Analyze:

 

The final step is to analyze the progress from time to time. It is to determine how effective the change is. By taking notes and engaging with the ongoing processes regularly, the improvement rate can be measured.

 

If the rate of improvement for the change made falls on the positive side, it is considered to be an effective solution. The cycle is then repeated to find another set of problems and subjected to finding solutions. This process is continued with varying problems and finding possible solutions. Some of the large organizations adopting the Kaizen continuous improvement method are Ford Motors and Pixel Studios.

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