Kaizen Method | Kaizen Philosophy

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Gradual, continuous (incremental) change (improvement). Explanation of Kaizen.

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Kaizen 5S frameworkKaizenWhat is Kaizen? Definition

The Kaizen method of continuous incremental improvements is an originally Japanese management concept for gradual, continuous (incremental) change (improvement).


Kaizen is actually a way of life philosophy. It assumes that every aspect of our life deserves to be constantly improved. The Kaizen philosophy lies behind many Japanese management concepts such as: Total Quality Control, Quality Control circles, small group activities, labor relations.


Key elements of Kaizen are: quality, effort, involvement of all employees, willingness to change, and communication.


Japanese companies distinguish between: Innovation, a radical form of change, and Kaizen, a continuous form of change. Kaizen means literally: change (kai) to become good (zen).


The five foundation elements of Kaizen

  1. Teamwork.
  2. Personal discipline.
  3. Improved morale.
  4. Quality circles.
  5. Suggestions for improvement.

Out of this foundation, three key factors in Kaizen arise

  • Elimination of Waste (muda) and inefficiency.
  • The Kaizen 5S Framework for good housekeeping.
    1. Seiri, meaning tidiness (Eng: Straighten)
    2. Seiton, meaning orderliness (Eng: Sort)
    3. Seiso, meaning cleanliness (Eng: Sweep, Shine)
    4. Seiketsu, meaning standardized clean-up (Eng: Standardize)
    5. Shitsuke, meaning discipline (Eng: Self-Discipline, Sustain)
  • Standardization.

When should the Kaizen philosophy be applied? Although it is difficult to give generic advice it is clear that it fits well in gradual, incremental change situations that require long-term change and in collective cultures. More individual cultures that are more focused on short-term success are often more conducive to concepts such as Business Process Reengineering.


Kaizen compared to Business Process Reengineering

When Kaizen is compared with the BPR method it is clear the Kaizen philosophy is more people-oriented, more easy to implement, but requires long-term discipline and provides only a small pace of change. The Business Process Reengineering approach on the other hand is harder, technology-oriented, it enables radical change but it requires considerable change management skills.


Book: Masaaki Imai - Kaizen -




Kaizen Method | Kaizen Philosophy Forum (23 topics) Help
  Kaizen Prerequisites  - I believe self-discipline is a mandatory prerequisite before one can hope to achieve success with Kaizen, just as it is in martial arts. The focus and 'stillness' of thought required in martial arts helps with the implementation of Kaizen. Wha...      
  Kaizen is Based on Kata  - Kaizen is more than we can think in Japanese culture. Everything is based on 'Kata*' in their culture, so no one is supposed to do things outside of the context of the Kata.
Through Kata we reach Kaizen, which is the state of mind to ...
     
  Formal Kaizen Programs  - Kaizen should be practised within a formal program with reward or recognition for successful efforts lest it may do in disarray. It was proven as a very successful way of doing our daily jobs as had been done in my 12-year experience in a Japanese MN...      
  Kaizen is a Way of Life  - I believe that Kaizen has not been well understood by most of the occidental companies; Kaizen is not a specific program, Kaizen is not a special project, Kaizen is not a quality circle activity... Kaizen is a way of life, a super4 source of motivati...      
  Start the Change Within Yourself  - The most important thing before starting Kaizen is, start the change within yourself. You cannot educate others about Kaizen if you yourself are not well educated enough about it....      
  Kaizen and Quality and Toyota  - Small incremental changes in quality can be accomplished through solid statistical analysis. Through the use of p-charts and other variable control charts a narrowing of the upper and lower limits incrementally can bring about long term kaikaku, I be...      
  Gauging Customer Satisfaction  - Customer satisfaction has a direct effect on profit and profitability. To what extent can profit measures be used to gauge customer satisfaction? To what extent can the flow through the channels be used to gauge customer satisfaction e.g. levels of s...      
  Organizational Change Must Be Slow and Incremental  - Change in organizations should be slow and incremental in order to be really effective. This is applicable regardless of the approach used....      
  Linking Kaizen to Goals of the Organization  - Linking Kaizen to goals is a sure way to ensure improvement within each process of the organization. These projects are reviewed internally and any boondoggle projects are canceled. The out of the box thought of identifying the area of improvement an...      
  Kaizen is a Philosophy | Kaizen Background  - I am led to believe Kaizen is more of a philosophy than it is a management 'tool' - the description above may wish to include the definition of Kaizen as it is understood with a Taoist appreciation of mutual benefit "on-going goodness / benefit, n...      
  The Kaizen Philosophy  - Kaizen is really a way of life philosophy. It is change for betterment. We have to inculcate this concept in every student in different streams to make them understand the inevitable of change. Even we shall follow this in our home and ...      
  Building Blocks of Kaizen, Continual Improvement  - It's interesting to see the clarification we received from Anthony from India about continually improving quality, cost and delivery.
The key word is continually (for the broad scope of the whole organization for example), since the littl...
     
  Kaizen is More than the Housekeeping techniques (5S) !  - Kaizen 5S is not just housekeeping techniques...
We should always link it with performance and productivity enhancement....
     
  One of the Best Management Practice that anyboy could have.  - Kaizen is one of the excellent management practice which especialy could use by Anybody in the world as it showcases the right, easy and most cost effective way to improve the business proccesses, people, procedures etc....      
  Kaizen in my Company  - We use Kaizen to improve continuously. We also hang the tools on a board, but someone is working with it and they have to report to me. As a lean manager I follow up on them and facilitate them. We work with a quick Kaizen sheet as we call it for the...      
  Kaizen in Human Resources  - I agree that Kaizen is the right way to increase organizational efficiency... Recently, an article came in my hands about Kaizen applied to human resources of organizations.... Reading that article the term "people positioning into the organization" ...      
  Kaizen and SOP Creation  - I find the biggest role of Kaizen in SOP creation of the defined task and it is this SOP that helps in standardising of the processes and the system....      
  Kaizen basis for Lean Six Sigma  - I think the Kaizen is the same as Lean Six Sigma, if we want to get more sucessful in the manufacturing field, we need start from the Kaizen....      
  Loss Function Analysis  - Loss function analysis can be used for controling loss incurred during production, the smaller the tolerance the less is the loss in production....      
  Kaizen vs Business Process Reengineering  - In ideas companies like film production, television etc, business process re-engineering has been found very applicable because it involves the fundamental realignment of resources and rethinking the organizational processes to enable it move in tand...      

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