If a war-ravaged Japan could resurrect and become a global economic super power in less than two decades, why can’t India follow its footsteps to leapfrog on to the path of prosperity?
The concept of KAIZEN (Change for good/better) does exactly the same thing – it helps organization improve their processes, products or services. In the wake of slowing Indian economy, companies have started reviewing their business costs. Job cuts are emerging as a key component of companies’ cost saving strategies.
The future of the businesses is becoming unpredictable & companies are making touch decisions when reviewing their operations costs. However this doesn’t need to equate to job cuts alone. Operational Excellence is an alternative strategy which many companies have now realized as it not only helps in bad times but also helps beyond that. “Moreover organizations also want their products & services to be delivered in the right quantity, at the right time to the customers at most efficient cost.”
Kaizen’s prime focus is on removing Muda – a Japanese word for waste. Muda is also identified as elements of production that add time, effort and cost, but no value. Muda can be in the form of over production, non essential transport, over inventory, needless waiting for parts and machines, over processing, rework and failure to fully utilize the time and talents of the employees. The kaizen initiatives can totally change the paradigm and prove that kaizen can be implemented without compromising quality and regulatory environment. In fact it can help to do focused improvement & sustenance of improvements. Many organizations have realized that kaizen can be implemented without investing additional capital. What is required is a view or vision to building the new work culture and restoring the conditions of the machines or services that is offered. Employees at level should be engaged and given some responsibility so that they can feel & enjoy the ownership of the process & the belongingness.
Since the entire exercise of identifying the mudas (bottleneck and waste) and working out the plan to remove them is done with active participation of all there will be no resistance from the employee, in fact they will be happy that they can now show tangible results in terms of improved outputs and profits.
In practice, Kaizen can be implemented in corporations by improving every aspect of a business process in a step by step approach, while gradually developing employee skills through training education and increased involvement. In business Kaizen encompasses many of the components of Japanese businesses that have been seen as a part of their success. Quality circles, automation, suggestion systems, just-in-time delivery, kanban and 5S are all included within the Kaizen system of running a business and if this is adopted by each and every organization it can definitely help to leapfrog on the path of prosperity.