Producing quality product at competitive prices have become the mantra for the modern businesses for them to not only to survive but thrive. To do that, they have to open up themselves to a global market place, where the customers fish out for goods and services that meet their expectations and enable them to derive satisfaction. Businesses cannot achieve this without embracing methods and tools that can be applied regularly to make the difference in quality by reducing wastes and costs. One such thing businesses adopt the lean methodology, and Kaizen offers critical support to it. And in that sense, it can consider as one of the pillars on which it is built and operated. Given its popularity, it merits to discuss as a separate article. It can do in this piece, and it covers:
- What does Kaizen mean?
- What are the benefits of implementing it?
What does Kaizen mean?
The term Kaizen is so broad that it has described in several ways. For instance, it is considered to be a combination of two Japanese words, ”Kai’ meaning ‘change’ and ‘Zen,’ implying right. From a more conventional view, it is taken to be improving everything, every day, everywhere and all the more common, is seen as something aiding in the improvement of processes, products, workplaces, and workforce.
It is, in fact, difficult to describe what Kaizen means is in a few sentences. It may be easier to describe what Kaizen is from the objectives it comprises and the outcome it aims at bringing about.
The objectives of Kaizen are to:
- Reduce waste
- Eliminate redundant processes
- Humanize the Workplace
- Enhance productivity
It does the above by eliminating three types of wastes, Muda, (waste), Mura (unevenness), and Muri (burden). They not done through a single event but something that occurs every day, where the opportunities are spotted, and improvements brought out daily. It is a philosophy, as well as a function. It empowers all the employees in your organizations to assume responsibility for their acts and efforts to improve its working. Kaizen then can be identified with continuous improvement and in that sense is a journey and not a destination.
Why Implement Kaizen?
Businesses are under constant pressure to reduce costs and improve quality. Kaizen offers you practical ways and means to achieve this. Here are some of the specifics:
Better Utilisation of Resources
Kaizen enables you to better utilize your existing resources, without adding to it, by making incremental improvements. It is focused on effecting small changes but in a sustained manner that results in continuous improvements.
It centers on increasing efficiency by eliminating wasteful processes and movements by deploying physical and involving human resources.
Safety not sacrificed in the quest to garner profits; somewhat, safety improves when newer ideas to clean up the redundancies implemented, which in turn improves profitability.
The motivational levels of employees increase when an atmosphere of teamwork is created and nourished. When they derive satisfaction in what they are doing, it creates a sense of accomplishment in them, which improves their self-esteem.
Given the fact that Kaizen considered as a movement, a lot can write about it. This article has taken a couple of salient features of Kaizen and elaborated them. It can conclude that Kaizen is an integral part of any business process, delivers value to businesses in terms of efficiency, quality, safety, and productivity. That makes a positive impact on their bottom line, without calling for substantial capital investments.
Keywords: KAIZEN, BUSINESS, IMPROVE, IMPROVEMENT, QUALITY, PROCESS, IMPLEMENT, INCREASE, WASTE, SAFETY