What is it: KAIZEN is a Japanese word for “improvement” it is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life. When applied to the workplace, Kaizen activities continually improve all functions of a business, from manufacturing to management and from the CEO to the assembly line workers. By improving standardized activities and processes, KAIZEN aims to eliminate waste.
A KAIZEN Event (or KAIZEN Blitz) - occurs when an operation team works together to improve a specific operation. It typically involves a detailed description of the current state of the selected operation, developing the kaizen plan for improvement, implementing the plan, following-up to confirm that the plan was carried out fully and correctly, and reporting to management on the event and its accomplishments.
Why use it: To be Lean, you must improve constantly. Every action or process can be improved. Walking or motion can be reduced. Inventory can be reduced, this is why KAIZEN is used.
Where to use it: At the beginning of Lean Implementation to shift paradigms and quickly demonstrate results. When an experienced practitioner identifies a simple, independent family of products and processes that fit the slogans and edicts. When the event is part of a well thought out Manufacturing Strategy.
When to use it: It is working each and every day to make improvements in the processes of the organization. Such incremental, but continuous improvement may reap great gains over time. Such incremental, but continuous improvement may reap great gains over time.
How to use it: The KAIZEN Process follows a few steps: