You are on page 1of 8

Kaizen

Definition Japanese term for a gradual approach to ever higher standards in quality enhancement and waste reduction, through small but continual improvements involving everyone from the chief executive to the lowest level workers. opularized by !osaki "mai in his books #Kaizen$ %he Key %o Japan#s competitive &uccess.# !'()")* Kaizen + ,-, Japanese for .improvement. or .change for the better., refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, supporting business processes, and management. "t has been applied in healthcare,/01 psychotherapy,/21 life3 coaching, government, banking, and many other industries. 4hen used in the business sense and applied to the workplace, kaizen refers to activities that continually improve all functions, and involves all employees from the 5'6 to the assembly line workers. "t also applies to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain./71 8y improving standardized activities and processes, kaizen aims to eliminate waste +see lean manufacturing-. Kaizen was first implemented in several Japanese businesses after the &econd 4orld 4ar, influenced in part by (merican business and quality management teachers who visited the country. "t has since spread throughout the world/91 and is now being implemented in many other venues besides :ust business and productivity.

;istory
(fter 4orld 4ar "", to help restore Japan, (merican occupation forces brought in (merican experts to help with the rebuilding of Japanese industry. %he 5ivil 5ommunications &ection +55&- developed a !anagement %raining rogram that taught statistical control methods as part of the overall material. %his course was developed and taught by ;omer &arasohn and 5harles rotzman in 0<9< and 0<=>. &arasohn recommended 4. 'dwards Deming for further training in &tatistical !ethods. %he 'conomic and

&cientific &ection +'&&- group was also tasked with improving Japanese management skills and 'dgar !c?oy is instrumental in bringing @owell !ellen to Japan to properly install the %raining 4ithin "ndustry +%4"programs in 0<=0. rior to the arrival of !ellen in 0<=0, the '&& group had a training film done to introduce the three %4" .J. programs +Job "nstruction, Job !ethods and Job Aelations-3 the film was titled ."mprovement in 9 &teps. +Kaizen eno Bon Dankai-. %his is the original introduction of .Kaizen. to Japan. Cor the pioneering, introducing, and implementing Kaizen in Japan, the 'mperor of Japan awarded the &econd 6rder !edal of the &acred %reasure to Dr. Deming in 0<D>. 5onsequently, the Enion of Japanese &cience and 'ngineering +JE&'- instituted the annual Deming rizes for achievements in quality and dependability of products in Japan. 6n 6ctober 0F, 0<F<, JE&' awarded the Deming rize to Clorida ower G @ight 5ompany +C @-, based in the Enited &tates, for its exceptional accomplishments in its process and quality control management. C @ was .the first company outside of Japan to win the Deming rize.. "mplementation %he %oyota roduction &ystem is known for kaizen, where all line personnel are expected to stop their moving production line in case of any abnormality and, along with their supervisor, suggest an improvement to resolve the abnormality which may initiate a kaizen.

%he D5( cycles %he cycle of kaizen activity can be defined as$

&tandardize an operation !easure the standardized operation +find cycle time and amount of in3 process inventory-

*auge measurements against requirements "nnovate to meet requirements and increase productivity &tandardize the new, improved operations 5ontinue cycle ad infinitum

%his is also known as the &hewhart cycle, Deming cycle, or D5(. !asaaki "mai made the term famous in his book Kaizen: The Key to Japan's Competitive Success. (part from business applications of the method, both (nthony Aobbins and Aobert !aurer, hD/H1 have popularized the kaizen principles into personal development principles. "n his book,One Small Step Can Change Your life: The Kaizen Way and his eight 5D set, The Kaizen Way to Success Dr. !aurer looks at both personal and professional success using the kaizen approach./F1 "n their book The Toyota Way !ield"oo#, Jeffrey @iker, and David !eier discuss the kaizen blitz and kaizen burst +or kaizen event- approaches to continuous improvement. ( kaizen blitz, or rapid improvement, is a focused activity on a particular process or activity. %he basic concept is to identify and quickly remove waste. (nother approach is that of the kaizen burst, a specific kaizen activity on a particular process in the value stream./<1 We"Kaizen $vents, written by Kate 5ornell, condenses the philosophies of kaizen events into a one3day, problem solving method that leads to prioritized solutions. %his method combines Kaizen 'vent tools with ! concepts. "t introduces the Cocused (ffinity !atrix and the 5ascading "mpact (nalysis. %he "mpactI5onstraint Diagram and the Dual 5onstraint Diagram are tools used in this method./0>1 Key elements of kaizen are quality, effort, involvement of all employees, willingness to change, and communication. %B '& Kaizen is an improvement process that has evolved substantially over the years. (s a result, the term Kaizen has developed to have multiple meanings. %here are three types of Kaizen$

J- %eaian kaizen 3 "ndividual ?ersus %eamed 4hile almost all Kaizen approaches use a teamed approach, there is the method described as %eian Kaizen or personal. %his is the more traditional suggestion system$ %eian Kaizen refers to individual employees uncovering improvement opportunities in the course of their day3to3day activities and making suggestions. "t does not include making the change itself, but simply the suggestion for the change. %his is the only part of the Kaizen culture to focus on the individual instead of a team. 'ven so, it does not advocate personal action to improve a process, but suggestions by individuals which will then be assessed by a team. 2- Kuality 5ircles 3 Day3to3Day ?ersus &pecial 'vent (n example of a day3to3day Kaizen approach is Kuality 5ircles. ;ere, a natural work team +people working together in the same area, operating the same work process- uses its observations about the work process to identify opportunities for improvement. During any day or perhaps at the end of the week, the team meets and selects a problem from an earlier shift to correct. %hey analyze its sources, generate ideas for how to eliminate it, and make the improvement. %his continuous improvement of the work process is made in the context of regular worker meetings. 7- &pecial events$ Kaizen 8litz technique 3 @arge3&cale ?s. &mall3&cale "mprovement (lthough Kaizen is a Japanese concept, many E.&. firms have adopted it with considerable success by combining the best of traditional Japanese practices with the strengths of 4estern business practice. %raditional Kaizen is, by definition, long term, a gradual incremental change results in small improvements throughout the organisation. ( Kaizen 8litz or Kaizen 'vent +or as it should be called, Kaikaku- is fast and furious$ it rapidly implement workcells, improves setups or streamlines processes. %hese methods plan ahead and then execute a process improvement over a period of days. %he rules$

Develop a vision of the future. ;aving defined what is happening now a future state map is created which defines what should be happening if the world was perfect. Aealistic but challenging elements are drawn out from this to create a vision for what life will be like by the end of the week. %his could be done during or prior to the event. "nvolve everyone. Cor a blitz to work everyone has to be involved. %his may mean shutting down a line or a department for the duration of the event. lanning the event and telling the rest of the organisation is therefore critical. "f this proves to be impossible, as many people as possible should be released. repare the group. "t is essential that everyone involved is trained in how to perform a blitz. %here will be times during the event when peopleLs paradigms will be seriously tested and, without proper preparation, people will find these times very stressful. lan for success. 5hoosing the right target for a blitz is also critical. %he event must be built for success particularly if itLs the first one. 5hoose something that will have a big impact on the people as well as the organisation. %he blitz is not a pro:ect tool so selecting something that can be addressed in a week is a challenge. %oo big and it will fail, too small and it wonLt have the impact. Keep the kaizen training to what is actually needed for the event. "t makes absolutely zero sense to go into the details of a &!'D system +&ingle !inute 'xchange of Dies- if your event has no change3overs as an obstacle to improvement. rovide the kaizen training at the right time. !any kaizen event training programs spend valuable training time the first day teaching how to complete a report out on Criday. 8y the time Criday rolls around, they end up teaching this portion of the training all over again because everybody has forgotten the lesson during the week. !ention the report out on !onday morning, leaving the details for Criday morning prior to the report out. 4hen Criday arrives, bring the team together for the quick .;ow3to3do3a3report3out. session and then the team goes to work without many questions.

roperly scale the scope of the kaizen event. ;ow many kaizen events bring an elephant to the table for a small team of five people to try to eat in one week, Keep the scope in line with the resources at hand. Keep your kaizen goals simple. !any times a kaizen event will put a long list of targets or goals on the team to accomplish, productivity, cycle time, =3&, floor space, quality, etc. (ll these goals are noble and beneficial however they may leave a team running in too many directions. ick one goal to focus your kaizen team. ick the right lean tool for the :ob and use it well. %here are plenty of lean tools to choose for kaizen activities so your must determine the right tool and use it well. 8uy3in, 8uy3in, 8uy3in. 4ithout buy3in of the operators in a new process, the improvements of the week will not last past the Criday report3out. "t is critical to get the process owners to buy3in to the new process. *o to gemba and stay there the entire week. 4ith the exception of your !onday morning training and eating lunch, your kaizen team must remain in the kaizen area the entire week. "t s important to have a meeting table, a few chairs and a flip chart placed in your kaizen area sharing information with the area +along with all those that passed by- throughout the kaizen process. )ot only did this remove the muda of walking back and forth to an offsite meeting room, it also limited the team debates on the actual process. &hare information on display with your kaizen newspaper for all to see. )o secrets, nothing to hide. 'ven the daily team leader meeting and the final report out were conducted at gemba. &peak with data. ;earsay or opinion have no place in a blitz. Decisions to make changes are made based on real hard data gained from the current state.

'lements

%here are five main elements of kaizen. %hey are $3


%eamwork ersonal discipline "mproved morale Kuality circles &uggestions for improvement

4hat (re %he 8enefits Aesulting Crom Kaizen, Kaizen is focused on making small improvements on a continuous basis. Kaizen involves every employee in making changeMin most cases small, incremental changes. "t focuses on identifying problems at their source, solving them at their source, and changing standards to ensure the problem stays solved. "t#s not unusual for Kaizen to result in 2= to 7> suggestions per employee, per year, and to have over <>N of those implemented. Cor example, %oyota is well3known as one of the leaders in using Kaizen. "n 0<<< at one E.&. plant, H,>>> %oyota employees submitted over H=,>>> suggestions, of which <<N were implemented. %hese continual small improvements add up to ma:or benefits. %hey result in improved productivity, improved quality, better safety, faster delivery, lower costs, and greater customer satisfaction. 6n top of these benefits to the company, employees working in Kaizen3based companies generally find work to be easier and more en:oyableMresulting in higher employee moral and :ob satisfaction, and lower turn3over. 4ith every employee looking for ways to make improvements, you can expect results such as$ Kaizen Aeduces 4aste in areas such as inventory, waiting times, transportation, worker motion, employee skills, over production, excess quality and in processes.

Kaizen "mproves space utilization, product quality, use of capital, communications, production capacity and employee retention. Kaizen rovides immediate results. "nstead of focusing on large, capital intensive improvements, Kaizen focuses on creative investments that continually solve large numbers of small problems. @arge, capital pro:ects and ma:or changes will still be needed, and Kaizen will also improve the capital pro:ects process, but the real power of Kaizen is in the on3going process of continually making small improvements that improve processes and reduce waste.

'O(! @'& 0- %he Kaizen attitude requires a willingness to accommodate permanent change. 2- 'xamples of Kaizen are often times the most effective ways of showing :ust how this method can be used in the workplace. Kaizen, 5ontinuous rocess "mprovement and many other techniques in @ean !anufacturing involve a great deal of thinking outside of the box, a task that can be quite difficult to do when you have been running with the same operation system and managerial tactics for the life of your business. %hinking differently is much harder than many people think. %hese examples of how other companies use Kaizen may help to spark some creative ideas of how you can apply similar innovation in your own production system.