24/12/2020 1 By indiafreenotes

Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning “change for the better” or “continuous improvement.” It is a Japanese business philosophy regarding the processes that continuously improve operations and involve all employees. Kaizen sees improvement in productivity as a gradual and methodical process.

The concept of kaizen encompasses a wide range of ideas. It involves making the work environment more efficient and effective by creating a team atmosphere, improving everyday procedures, ensuring employee engagement, and making a job more fulfilling, less tiring, and safer.

Kaizen is a concept referring to business activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers. Kaizen the Sino-Japanese word for “improvement”. Kaizen also applies to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain. It has been applied in healthcare, psychotherapy, life coaching, government, and banking.

The term continuous improvement can be very abstract if not placed in a specific context. Explained shortly, it is a never-ending strive for perfection in everything you do. In Lean management, continuous improvement is also known as Kaizen.

Kaizen originated in Japan shortly after the end of the Second World War. It gained massive popularity in manufacturing and became one of the foundations of Toyota’s rise from a small carmaker to the largest automobile manufacturer on the planet.

In the context of the Lean methodology, continuous improvement seeks to improve every process in your company by focusing on enhancing the activities that generate the most value for your customer while removing as many waste activities as possible.

Some of the key objectives of the kaizen philosophy include quality control, just-in-time delivery, standardized work, the use of efficient equipment, and the elimination of waste. The overall goal of kaizen is to make small changes over a period of time to create improvements within a company. That doesn’t mean alterations happen slowly; it simply recognizes that small changes now can have huge impacts in the future. Improvements can come from any employee at any time. The idea is that everyone has a stake in the company’s success and everyone should strive, at all times, to help make the business model better.

Many companies have adopted the kaizen concept. Most notably, Toyota employs the kaizen philosophy within its organization and has esteemed it as one of its core values. Within its production system, Toyota encourages and empowers all employees to identify areas of potential improvement and create viable solutions.

Five S of Kaizen

“Five S” of Kaizen is a systematic approach which leads to foolproof systems, standard policies, rules and regulations to give rise to a healthy work culture at the organization. You would hardly find an individual representing a Japanese company unhappy or dissatisfied. Japanese employees never speak ill about their organization. Yes, the process of Kaizen plays an important role in employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction through small continuous changes and eliminating defects. Kaizen tools give rise to a well organized workplace which results in better productivity and yield better results. It also leads to employees who strongly feel attached towards the organization.

SEIRI: SEIRI stands for Sort Out. According to Seiri, employees should sort out and organize things well. Label the items as “Necessary”, ”Critical”, ”Most Important”, “Not needed now”, “Useless and so on. Throw what all is useless. Keep aside what all is not needed at the moment. Items which are critical and most important should be kept at a safe place.

SEITION: Seition means to Organize. Research says that employees waste half of their precious time searching for items and important documents. Every item should have its own space and must be kept at its place only.

SEISO: The word “SEISO” means shine the workplace. The workplace ought to be kept clean. De-clutter your workstation. Necessary documents should be kept in proper folders and files. Use cabinets and drawers to store your items.

SEIKETSU: SEIKETSU refers to Standardization. Every organization needs to have certain standard rules and set policies to ensure superior quality.

SHITSUKE or Self Discipline: Employees need to respect organization’s policies and adhere to rules and regulations. Self-discipline is essential. Do not attend office in casuals. Follow work procedures and do not forget to carry your identity cards to work. It gives you a sense of pride and respect for the organization.

There are three types of waste in Lean:

Muda (waste): The seven wastes

Mura (Unevenness): The waste of unevenness

Muri (Overburden): The waste of overburden