Kaizen – the concept of continuous improvement, streamlining, continuous improvement of what is already there and works. It is a Japanese business philosophy of involving everyone in a given organization to improve what the organization does. Each employee/member of the organization proposes amendments even to the activities covered by the applicable standards in order to improve them.
Kaizen philosophy is a lifestyle based on an endless process of improvement. The beginning of improvement is to recognize needs, which in turn arise from problems.
10 kaizen principles
- Problems generate opportunities.
- Ask 5 times Why?
- Get ideas from everyone.
- Think about solutions that can be implemented.
- Reject the established state of affairs.
- There is no need to make excuses that something cannot be done.
- Choose simple solutions without waiting for the perfect ones.
- Use your wits instead of money.
- Correct mistakes on a regular basis.
- There is no end to improvement.
Masaaki Imai – Japanese specialist in quality management, especially in the field of kaizen. In 1985 he founded the Kaizen Institute in Switzerland with the aim of introducing Western companies to the concept, systems and tools of kaizen, such as ‘lean management’.
Definition of kaizen given by Masaaki Imai:
- everyday improvement;
- everybody improvement;
- everywhere improvement.
The use of kaizen is a challenge and commitment related to self-discipline to improve a given project everyday, without exception.
Kaizen is not just about basic employees. Kaizen goes from the top to embrace everyone from managers to employees, no exceptions. It is managers who should communicate their commitments, their determination and guidance downwards so that everyone applies the kaizen principles. This also applies to seasonal workers and cooperating companies.
Kaizen is used everywhere, not only in the production hall, but also in administration, construction offices, research centers and sales departments, i.e. in direct contact with the customer.
Toyota Production System (TPS)
A unique system of Japanese management methods, which also includes kaizen.
That is why my choice has long been Toyota, whose cars are among the most reliable, even in German rankings (in the first places in terms of operational reliability).