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Blog : Kaizen

Kaizen is a Japanese word for ‘continuous improvement.’ Kaizen methods can be used to improve the results of any firm and can also be used in your personal life. Read on to learn the what, how and why of kaizen.

What Is Kaizen?

Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning continuous improvement. It’s made up of two characters in Japanese: kai, which means ‘change,’ and zen, which means ‘good.’ It’s used to describe a company culture where everyone, from the CEO to the front desk clerk, regularly evaluates his or her work and thinks of ways to improve it. The concept is that small steps on a regular basis will lead to large improvements over time.
Kaizen is a slow but ongoing process of improvement, not a ‘blitz’ or quickly implemented set of changes. The improvements are suggested by the person doing the work, not an outside evaluation team. If a resource has a problem to address or is considering whether a change will make sense, he should pull in several team members for a quick discussion and brainstorming session and then decide what to do from there.

How Do You Implement Kaizen?

It’s important to note that kaizen is a way of thinking, not a project to complete. To implement it, all employees should receive training on the concept of kaizen and should have some guidelines in terms of what they need to do before implementing a change. For example, it may be fine for an office employee to change his or her handling of paperwork without any discussion. A change in the production process, though, may impact multiple teams and should be discussed with all impacted parties before implementation.
It’s also important that management is trained and be behind the effort. Kaizen will result in many more suggestions for improvements and changes and will take away from a rigid focus on moving items quickly through the existing process. Management must be ready to accept some time away from current work to focus on changes with longer-range impact.

By Vimlesh Rivonkar .

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