Updated: Nov 2, 2020
What is Kaizen?
Kaizen, in Japanese term means “change for the better”. To break it down, Kai means “change” and Zen means “good”.
This is an approach for continuous improvement in production and operation whereby it involves employees along. It is more of having a good mindset or a philosophy rather than being a tool to use, as it creates a teamwork culture, improving daily operation and organization procedures, ensuring employee satisfaction, and making a job process more efficient. In short, turning the entire organization to a better work environment, and it leads to customer satisfaction.
How does it work?
With Kaizen approach, it identifies issues and create solution. Even to the extent of small changes, it may have bigger impact to the future. Improvements may come from any employee, at any time.
Get employees involved
· All related employees are recommended to participate in identifying the issues and problems of the production or operation. They know better on what is happening.
Gather a list of problems
· As the production or operation process involves all employees, encourage employees to gather a list of problems.
Encourage solutions, then choose an idea
· Encourage employees to offer creative ideas for the solution. Choose the best among all to solve the stated problems.
Test the solution
· Test the selected solution with the employees participating in it along.
Regularly measure and analyze the result
· Check on the solution progress from time to time on every aspect of the productions and operations. See how well the solution does on them.
If successful, adopt the solution
· If the solution is successful, applies it to the entire organization.
Repeat on an ongoing basis
· The above steps should be repeated from day to day or time to time. With new solutions updated and applies to different issues, the entire operations becomes more efficient.
How is Kaizen different from Six Sigma and Lean Production?
Kaizen creates a standard way of working, involving every employee to identify issues and provide solution. The objective is to increase the overall production and operation efficiency and eliminating business waste. In another word, the continuous improvement improve the company as a whole.
Six Sigma focuses on the product by recognizing and correcting deviations in a product. It find and eliminate the causes of defects, to its’ minimum, close to perfection. Focuses more on final output of the product.
Lean production is all about focusing on eliminating waste and reduce cost while increasing the process speed and value adds for consumer or customers.
Which is better?
All three methodologies plays their very own role in developing their very own improvement model, focusing in different areas or aspects. Unlike the old days, there is no way for you to choose which is the only one and only one best to be used in today’s business world, as all three can be used together with one another depending on the issue or problem you need to solve.