Continuous Improvement Firm:


Successful Implementation of Kaizen Strategy

7 Conditions


Adapted from Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management, Masaaki Imai




The Seven Conditions

  1. Top management commitment

  2. Top management commitment

  3. Top management commitment

Smart Executive

  1. Setting up an organization dedicated to promote Kaizen

  2. Appointing the best available personnel to manage the Kaizen process

  3. Conducting training and education

  4. Establishing a step-by-step process for Kaizen introduction.



Areas Targeted by TQM in Japan


The Problem Addressed

One of the most difficult aspects of introducing and implementing Kaizen strategy is assuring its continuity.

When a company introduces something new, such as quality circles, or total quality management (TQM), it experiences some initial success, but soon such success disappear like fireworks on summer night and after a while nothing is left, and management keeps looking for a new flavor of the month.

This if because the company lacks the first three most important conditions for the successful introduction and implementation of Kaizen strategy:

  1. Top management commitment

  2. Top management commitment

  3. Top management commitment

Top Management Commitment

All conditions are important. Without top management supporting every move, however, the trial will be short-lived regardless of other preconditions.

Top management may express commitment in many different ways, and it must take every opportunity to:

  • preach the message,

  • become personally involved in following up the progress of Kaizen, and

  • allocate resources for successful implementation.

 Case in Point  Fidelity Investments

Fidelity’s practice of Kaizen began with the company’s Chairman and CEO, Edward C. Johnson III. A long-time student of eastern philosophy and religion, Johnson became interested in Japanese management practices and discovered Kaizen... More

 Case in Point   Kaizen Time at Canon

In some Canon plants, the foremen are told to set aside the half-hour as Kaizen time – time to do nothing but thinking improvement in the workshop. The foremen use this period to identify problems and work on Kaizen programs. Factories are advised not to hold meetings during this 30-minute period, and foremen should not even answer the telephone then... More


Continuous Improvement Firm (CIF): Kaizen, Lean Manufacturing, Suggestion Systems, TQM, Best Practices




  1. Kaizen: The Key To Japan's Competitive Success, Masaaki Imai

  2. Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management, Masaaki Imai

  3. Lean Manufacturing That Works, Bill Carreira

  4. The Toyota Way, Jeffrey Liker

  5. The Lean Manufacturing Pocket Handbook, Kenneth W. Dailey

  6. Kaikaku: The Power and Magic of Lean, Norman Bodek

  7. A Team Leader's Guide to Lean Kaizen, William Wes Waldo and Tom Jones

  8. Deming's 14 Point Plan for TQM

  9. 14 Slogans for TQM at Pentel, Japan

  10. 9 Waste Categories and 6 Guidelines of the Canon's Suggestion System

  11. Five Ss at Canon

  12. 10 Commandments of Improvement, Gemba Research

  13. Kaizen, 25 PowerPoint slides by Factory Strategies Group LLC

Continuous Improvement Firm (CIF)

3 Basic Principles of Continuous Improvement

Using 80/20 Principle

PDSA Cycle: Plan – Do – Study – Act

Suggestion Systems

Japanese-style Suggestion System

Fun4Biz Suggestion System


Quick and Easy Kaizen

Kaizen vs Kaikaku

Lean Production

7 Principles of Toyota Production System (TPS)

5 Elements of Enabling a Lean Approach