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Kaizen Teian: The bottom up approach for productivity improvement

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In the era of globalization the organizations competitive advantage is determined by the quality of their products which is directly correlated with the employees knowledge, attitude, and commitment at all the levels of the organization. As you know the creative ability is present in everyone, needing only to be developed through some system.

Kaizen Teian means 改善 (Kaizen): improvement and 提案  (Teian): proposal . Kaizen Teian is used for developing systems for Continuous Improvement Through Employee Suggestions or proposals. This Japanese-style proposal system for continuous improvement — is the most direct and effective method for channeling employees’ creative energies and hands-on insight.

Kaizen Teian cycle

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The core value of Kaizen teian stresses on active involvement from all employees. From CEOs to front line workers, each member’s role in facilitating change and growth is necessary. But what is the difference between the Western and Japanese suggestion system?  The answer is quite simple. It is a different motivation for participation. The poster of a Western and a Japanese company is a good illustration of the difference:

For E.g. Poster of Western company says “Cash For Your Idea” while the Poster of Japanese company says “Let us improve the way we work”

In Kaizen Teian system the financial aspect is not to be highlighted while in Suggestion System where there is a reward per suggestion, a business like transaction takes place between the company and employee who comes up with a suggestion. The Kaizen Teian system is created to promote participation from as many employees as possible. It has much higher participation than classic suggestion systems. In case of Kaizen Teian system most proposals are used, receive some kind of evaluation and will be rewarded with some kind of bonus. Even small proposal and ideas are welcomed and carefully collected, because even small proposal are considered to have educational values. On the other side Western suggestions systems are designed to promote excellent, big result ideas, which are rewarded accordingly. These being stricter as compared to Kaizen Teian results in rejecting proposal as unsuitable after evaluation and employees often feel frustrated by the system and often do not bother to come up with suggestions at all. So the major drawback of Suggestion System is that such a system consumes time, and such a leisurely approach is no longer practical. What is required in this competitive era is promptness i.e. quick decision, judgment and implementation. And for this reason the focus has shifted to Kaizen Teian.

The following Table clearly presents the differences between Kaizen-Teian systems and Western type suggestions systems:

Table

Image Source: http://www.michailolidis.gr

Successful organizations are those that are able to able to maintain a balance between the element of standardization and the innovative forces represented by innovation and Kaizen. Innovations do bring about remarkable results but requires large investment/capital while on the other side Kaizen or Continuous improvement represents an incremental, ongoing process. Kaizen Teian is one of the tools that can be used for doing continuous improvement on daily basis. It is something that everyone can participate in as people from top to bottom gets involved in it. And when people at all levels start doing Kaizen Teian a powerful force is set in motion. And this is why Kaizen has become one of the most powerful tools to achieve operational excellence or business excellence. While all the areas or departments will be open for suggestions the primary focus can be on Productivity & Quality, Product Design, Flow (Information or Material) and Admin.

What needs to be done is to motivate people at all level to participate, write suggestions/proposals, implement, review/audit the same and award or give commendations. It this is done successful the Kaizen Teian will run smoothly and one idea will lead to another one and so on.

Benefits of implementing Kaizen Teian

  1. Improves profit
  2. Improves customer satisfaction
  3. Discovers hidden talents
  4. Promotes self-development
  5. Improves the motivation and morale of employees at each level
  6. Enhances communication between top bottom level
  7. Helps to build and improve team work
  8. Creates ownership and trust within each other
  9. Engages and empowers employees at all levels
  10. And improves the overall work environment

The overall aim is to gather, analyze and implement ideas in order to create results that have a positive impact on the business and/or deliver new value to customers. The only point that needs to be kept in mind before implementing Kaizen Teian is that the suggestions/proposals should not be related to company policies, compensation/benefits, complaints/criticism, & disputes or grievances.

To conclude Kaizen Teian is a system or a formalized mechanism that encourages employees to contribute constructive ideas for improving the organization in which they work.

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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