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 The Meaning of "Kaizen"

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Kage Oni
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PostSubject: The Meaning of "Kaizen"   Sat May 10, 2008 4:30 am

Kaizen is a Japnese word/term. I would like to give credit to Wikipedia for the definition and what Im about to post!!





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Kaizen is a daily activity whose purpose goes beyond simple
productivity improvement. It is also a process that, when done
correctly, humanizes the workplace, eliminates overly hard work (both
mental and physical) "muri", and teaches people how to perform
experiments on their work using the scientific method and how to learn
to spot and eliminate waste in business processes.



To be most effective kaizen must operate with three[citation needed] principles in place:



* consider the process and the results (not results-only) so that actions to achieve effects are surfaced;

* systemic thinking of the whole process and not just that
immediately in view (i.e. big picture, not solely the narrow view) in
order to avoid creating problems elsewhere in the process; and

* a learning, non-judgmental, non-blaming (because blaming is
wasteful) approach and intent will allow the re-examination of the
assumptions that resulted in the current process.



People at all levels of an organization can participate in kaizen,
from the CEO down, as well as external stakeholders when applicable.
The format for kaizen can be individual, suggestion system, small
group, or large group. At Toyota, it is usually a local improvement
within a workstation or local area and involves a small group in
improving their own work environment and productivity. This group is
often guided through the kaizen process by a line supervisor; sometimes
this is the line supervisor's key role.



While kaizen (at Toyota) usually delivers small improvements, the
culture of continual aligned small improvements and standardization
yields large results in the form of compound productivity improvement.
Hence the English usage of "kaizen" can be: "continuous improvement" or
"continual improvement."



This philosophy differs from the "command-and-control" improvement
programs of the mid-twentieth century. Kaizen methodology includes
making changes and monitoring results, then adjusting. Large-scale
pre-planning and extensive project scheduling are replaced by smaller
experiments, which can be rapidly adapted as new improvements are
suggested.



The Kaizen approach encourages company to innovate and look for
improvements all the time in the process. It is often a culture that is
inbred in the employees of such companies that employ the techniques.
The whole purpose is to produce the perfect process, for instance in
factory production lines if the operators detect an abnormality on the
process they may stop the production to investigate why it has gone
wrong.

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