What is Kaizen?
Kaizen means "improvement". Kaizen
strategy calls for
never-ending efforts for improvement involving everyone in the
organization – managers and workers alike.
Management has two major
1. maintenance, and
The objective of the maintenance
function is to maintain current technological, managerial, and operating
standards. The improvement function is aimed at improving current standards.
Under the maintenance
function, the management must first establish policies, rules, directives
and standard operating procedures (SOPs) and then work towards ensuring that
everybody follows SOP. The latter is achieved through a combination of
discipline and human resource development measures.
Under the improvement
function, management works continuously towards revising the current
standards, once they have been mastered, and establishing higher ones.
Improvement can be broken down between innovation and Kaizen. Innovation
involves a drastic improvement in the existing process and requires large
investments. Kaizen signifies small improvements as a result of coordinated
continuous efforts by all employees.
Kaizen and Corporate
Kaizen is an integral part of
corporate culture of a Continuous
Improvement Firm (CIF). It requires
continuous both conscious and sub-conscious thinking about improvements from
everyone. Nurturing and effectively
integrating Kaizen into corporate
culture is not easy. It requires a sustained effort. But, as
Toyota has demonstrated, it offers a more
sustained competitive advantage...
Kaizen and Lean
Lean Enterprise: 13 Tips
Kaizen is the heart of
(also known as the
Toyota Production System).
Toyota states: "...based on the concept of continuous improvement,
or Kaizen, every Toyota team member is empowered with the ability to
improve their work environment. This includes everything from
quality and safety to the environment and productivity. Improvements
and suggestions by team members are the cornerstone of
The Toyota Way: 14 Principles
Process-Oriented Thinking vs.
Kaizen concentrates at improving
rather than at achieving certain results. Such managerial attitudes and
make a major difference in how an organization
and achieves improvements.
Balanced Organization: 5 Basic
Employee Empowerment: the Suggestion System
The suggestion system is an
integral part of an established management system that aims at involving
employees in Kaizen. The number of worker's suggestions is regarded as an
important criteria in reviewing the performance of the worker's supervisor
and the manager of the supervisor.
The Japanese management encourages
employees to generate a great number of suggestions and works hard to
consider and implement these suggestions, often incorporating them into the
overall Kaizen strategy. Management also gives due recognition to employee's
efforts for improvement. An important aspect of the suggestion system is
that each suggestion, once implemented, leads to an upgraded standard. Quality control (QC) circles can
be viewed as a group-oriented suggestion system for making improvements.
is a small group that voluntarily performs quality-control activities in the
Areas Targeted by TQM in Japan
Total quality control
(TQC) involves everyone in the organization and is aimed at improvement of
managerial performance at all levels...
Oki Electric Co.
At Tôhoku Oki Electric Co., the
suggestion system is the center of their success and leads all of
their improvement efforts. The company gets 570 suggestions per
employee per year (app. 1.5 written ideas per employee per workday)...