Continual Improvement

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Kaizen is a Japanese word. "Kai" in Japanese means "Change" and "Zen" mean "Good". The literary meaning of Kaizen is "Change for Good". Kaizen implies continuous improvement. Dr Deming said that "Not a day should be spent without making any improvement." The word kaizen implies to involve both managers and workers at workplace entailing relatively little expense. Everybody performs his/her tasks a little better each day. Small continuous improvements will result in higher quality, lower cost and better productivity. These improvements add value in the work. An organization can achieve Operational Excellence by implementing Kaizen. Let's start each day with the principle that methods can always be improved.

Kaizen uses common sense tools, checklists and techniques to solve problems. They do not cost much money. Instead of applying the latest high cost technology and investing a great deal of money, Kaizen can achieve significant improvement. Shingo, the world's leading expert on manufacturing practices, said that, "Improvement usually means doing something in a different manner, not as we have been doing it so far."At workplace, improvements are necessary to bring tangible results. A customer is not going to pay for non-value adding activities that happen in an organization.

Deming also said that "It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory." Well, it is absolutely one's choice to change or not. However, industries are impacted by the constant evolution of the business world. The cycle of demand and supply makes them adopt practices that give results. Adopting best practices to bring huge benefits to the Customer. Kaizen is not just practicing rather has been a philosophy of improvement. To make life simpler, it is to be done daily by you, at home and at workplace as well.

Kaizen asks you to get rid of old assumptions. Kaizen makes you ask the right questions. It asks you to start with the improvement, even if you're half ready. You don't need to be perfect to make an improvement rather perfection will be achieved by doing it. Fix the problems then and there. Analyze the situation by questioning the premise at the root of the problem. Perform a 5 - WHY analysis. The foundations of Kaizen lie in:

  • Employee Empowerment
  • Self Discipline
  • Recognition

Industries earn money by developing, producing and selling products to meet the needs of the customer. A company can't exist without performing these activities. These activities take place at the Gemba. Gemba is the "shop-floor" or the "real-place" where value adding activities are carried out. Kaizen requires going into the nuts and bolts of the manufacturing operations. And as it is said, all for the want of a little horseshoe nail, a kingdom mustn't be lost. When we realize the impact of the so-called small things, we see that nothing is small. Kaizen enables you to focus on small changes to make a big difference. Kaizen empowers you to deal with change.

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