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KAIZEN: A major driver of Change

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Today’s competitive and ever changing market environment demands the continuous optimisation of customer requirements, production changes, delivery capacity, flexibility and, ultimately, profitability. The Kaizen methodology has found its way in numerous manufacturing industries striving towards operational excellence.  


It is important to understand the word KAIZEN. Although Kaizen is defined in English as “Continual Improvement”, it is much more than the word signifies. Kaizen is a way of life, an attitude, a spirit, daily process that prevails at all times in an organization. It is said by Sensei Masaaki Imai that Kaizen should be practiced by “Everyone (all employees, managers included), Everyday (not like a month end sales promotion…..but a way of life) and Everywhere (all departments – not restricted to the shop floor). Kaizen approach has helped countless businesses around the world. (Both in manufacturing and services)  The Kaizen approach helps turning people into problem solvers, thus taking advantage of that which is free–the mind.  This approach focuses on developing a culture where workers are trained to become problem solvers, where they learn to constantly look for ways to improve the company.  The Kaizen philosophy focuses on a low cost form to implement a competitive advantage rather than a high cost, big time innovative change that might, or might not work.  It is based on constant, gradual improvement, rather than quick, big time improvements.

Gap Exists in all areas of Operational performance. For e.g.; An automotive industry analysis shows that:

  1. Manufacturing: 80% time on non-value added activities
  2. Supply chain: Too much inventory (140 days vs. 35 for best-practice*)
  3. Channel Management: Poor channel capability and returns
  4. Key account management: No systematic tracking of top customers and their satisfaction
  5. Pricing: Unaware of ‘pocket margins’
  6. Purchasing/supply management: Too many suppliers (250* vs. 100 for best-practice)

Therefore what is required to drive operational excellence is an agenda driver by the CEO, focus on facts & root causes, relentless focus on change management and programmes led by brightest & the best.

KAIZEN aims at improving total business performance through sustainable implementation, it can be via:

GEMBA KAIZEN workshops

  • It is a ‘learning by doing’ tool to internalize the concepts applied in bringing about the improvements.
  • It creates a drastic reduction in the time elapsed between a need for improvement and implementing the improvement.
  • A five-day structured event in which teams from within the client organization work on pre-selected improvement projects, on the workplace, facilitated and supported by experts from Kaizen Institute


Training teaches in a practice related way how improvement processes in different areas can be triggered and sustained.


Visit world class manufacturing facilities and experience the Best Practice Live through Excellence inside Tours. Learn Through Real Time Observation of successful JIT and other KAIZEN Practices in a variety of industry to provide you understanding of next steps to design Kaizen implementation process of your organization.


Theory and practice go hand in hand and organizations have understood the importance of certifications and therefore have started offering various programs to their employees relevant to their industry or requirement in association with certification providers.

Advantages of implementing KAIZEN:

–          All functions of the organization come under continuous inspection. 

–          Employees most familiar with a particular operation on a day-to-day basis are the ones evaluating it. 

–          It serves to increase employee morale and job satisfaction. 

–          Waste is identified & reduced throughout the organization, reducing costs and increasing efficiency. 

–          Product or Service quality is improved and is monitored on a continuous basis. 

–          Improved productivity, quality, better safety, faster delivery, reduced costs and greater customer satisfaction.

The ultimate goal to transform a traditional companies into a lean company is to obtain a culture of continuous improvement. The moment you stop focusing on Kaizen, results will disappear within months. Sensei Imai believes top management should never stop focusing on kaizen and on gemba.

Author: Kaizen Institute - India!

Kaizen Institute – India is part of the Global Kaizen Institute operations. Kaizen Institute was established by Sensei Masaaki Imai, the GURU of Kaizen. He wrote the 1st book 28 yrs ago and that is when it all started . We operate in 30+ countries today and have over 400+ coaches helping more then 600 organizations Learn, Apply, Sustain – Kaizen/ Operational Excellence. In India we have two physical offices – Pune & Ahmedabad and 27 coaches in all.

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