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Kaizen® in Hotels

Lean thinking, Kaizen® philosophies and tools have traditionally been associated with manufacturing industry. Long-lasting success of companies like Toyota through implementation of these tools and philosophies and ensuing benefits – such as superior quality; faster throughput times; lower inventories; reduced costs; and engagement of people in problem-solving – are very well documented.


It is time to think about how these principles and concepts can be applied to service industry – hotels and hospitality specifically – where creating value for customers through enhanced service quality; fast and efficient response to customer requirements; and competitive costs are of paramount importance.

Typical challenges in hotel industry 

  • Inefficient processes causing guests to wait – at check-in or check-out, for example
  • A high degree of variability and inconsistency in service delivery
  • Hindrances to inter-department information flow – between Front Desk and Housekeeping; or between Housekeeping and Laundry, for instance
  • High F&B costs – due to food wastage, for example
  • Frequent breakdown of critical equipment
  • High repair and maintenance costs
  • High energy bills
  • Engineering spare part inventory management
  • Long procurement approval as well as long lead-time for procuring supplies and consumables
  • Chaos generated by short lead-time events
  • Lack of involvement by people in everyday problem-solving


Adoption of Kaizen principles can help overcome the aforementioned challenges and create a culture of continuous improvement in the organization by identifying and relentlessly eliminating Muda (wasteful activities and practices) from every process everyday and by involving people at all levels to participate in problem-solving.


Benefits after implementing Kaizen in hotel industry

  • Customer first – Improvement projects and activities focused primarily at improving guest satisfaction
  • Employee engagement – Involving and engaging every single employee in the problem-solving process and thereby creating a culture of continuous improvement in the organization.
  • Identifying and solving problems – Acknowledging problems openly and striving to solve problems on a daily basis
  • Speak with data – Identifying, measuring and visualizing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help identify areas for improvement and track progress.
  • Cost reduction – Reducing costs and improving competitiveness without sacrificing guest satisfaction. Also, freeing up working capital through inventory reduction.


Unfortunately, only few companies are aware of these opportunities and how to easily achieve this savings.

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Kaizen® in Government

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. Similarly IMPROVEMENT cannot be done in a blink of an eye. It’s a process, its journey that needs to be taken collectively, only then, we can bring change or improvement.

kaizen in government


The typical office has lots of opportunity to build upon, for eg:

  • Has a lot of hidden Waste….
  • Like searching, double filing, duplication of efforts, processes with long lead times, information ‘poor load’ or ‘overload’ etc,
  • Dissatisfaction felt by customers: services are seldom
  • ON Time, In Full, Error Free (OTIFEF) – to internal or external customers
  • Dissatisfaction to organization: Waste of resources: People, Space, Utilities, Material, Machines
  • Probable Causes: poor physical workplace management and defects in processes. No sustained efforts to drive continual improvements within service functions.

Lack of a productivity culture and need for building a Kaizen culture!



Lean government proponents generally believe that the government should cut out “waste” and “inefficiency” from government organizations; this in turn will result in better services overall, as well as more value for tax-supported programs and services. Generally, proponents also see that a Lean government is a means to expand the capacity of government to provide more services per unit of investment. Apart form this there are few other benefits like:

  • Improved public service (time to delivery and quality of service)
  • Improved work flow and service to internal customers
  • Release of space converted for other purposes
  • Saving of costly national resources
  • Better organized workplaces in a number of offices


 How Lean Government is different from Conventional Government


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Announcing Public Training Program for September 2014


Kaizen College (Executive education & training arm of Kaizen Institute. It operates worldwide at different locations) now announces its public training program for the month of September.

The objective is to train & enhance the professional skills of your team members through ‘hands-on’ approach so as to enable them to drive Kaizen®/Lean/Operational Excellence initiatives.

Our Pedagogy


To know more or to register for the program kindly click on below link.

September Public Program_KII

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7 Steps of planned Maintenance

  1. Support & Guidance to ‘Autonomous Maintenance’ activities
  • Participate with operators in putting green & red tags
  • Attend red tag abnormalities
  1. Evaluation of Equipment failure/ breakdown status & understand the situation.
  • Do why-why analysis for repeated abnormalities, find & eliminate root cause.
  1. Reverse deterioration & correct weaknesses.
  • Extended help to operators to prepare ‘Tentative Standards’ for cleaning, Lubrication & Inspection.
  • Establish ‘TBM’ & ‘CBM’ based Maintenance schedules
  1. Build an ‘Information Management’ system.
  • Extend help to operators in education, on job training in general inspection & developing inspection procedures
  1. Build a ‘Periodic Maintenance’ system.
  • Prepare standard documents for material selection, expense estimation, spare part management, work safety standards, Lubrication classification etc.
  1. Build a ‘Predictive Maintenance’ system.
  • Introduce ‘Equipment Diagnostics’ technology
  • Develop Equipment diagnosis skills & change TBM in to CBM.
  1. Evaluate the planned Maintenance system.
  • Compare, review total system & strengthen weak points.
  • Consolidate planned Maintenance, prepare Master Plan.

Why – Why Analysis

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Acknowledgement: Japanese Institute of Plant Maintenance

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Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day

15th aug-02

As you celebrate the 68th Indian Independence day Kaizen Institute would like to wish all its clients, fans & followers a HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY. May your journey of operational excellence find solid relationships & satisfied repeating customers.

Freedom or Independence is the spirit, a state of mind that enables people to create the greatest and the most inspiring things. This spirit of freedom gives you the power to conquer new heights, whether it is a real mountain peak or a bold business challenge.

Similarly Kaizen® spirit gives you the freedom from daily firefighting situations, heavy investments, taking out people, etc. Kaizen® is all about finding better ways to do things, so that they require less effort, less time and fewer resources. It is about developing a mindset, methods and tools to identify and eliminate Muda, Mura & Muri in all its forms at every opportunity.

We hope everybody gets to celebrate life, liberty & the pursuit of Kaizen®

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Kaizen Institute India(KII) & Manufacturing division of FICCI joins hands to offer Certified Manufacturing Excellence Practioner (CMEP) program

The Manufacturing industry is poised for growth but there are competitive pressures on the Manufacturing Industry. Many organizations are facing competition in terms of Productivity, Quality, Delivery, Cost and Safety and this calls for a strategic and holistic approach that you need to adopt to make your operations “World Class”.


Keeping this in mind KII & Manufacturing division of FICCI joins hands to support the operational excellence goals of organizations in manufacturing industry.

Click below given link to download the brochure

CMEP Brochure

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Training – Is it an Investment or Expense?

It would not be wrong to say it is a million dollar question to answer the question whether Training is an expense or an investment. Each & every company’s senior management is confused whenever they face this question.


Perhaps, the question needs a prelude. Let us imagine that we need to enrol our children in a school. It is quite obvious, that we will be looking for the “best-ever” school based on our considerations irrespective of the fees charged by the school. If asked why, the answer would be, “I would like to ensure or guarantee a bright future for my child”. Ensuring a bright future gives us a mental comfort that our children will have a financial comfort at a later stage in their life.  Now, let us ask our question, “the money spent on our children’s education – Is it an investment or expense? We must be telling a lie if we replied, its an expense.

Imagine a similar situation in our organization. We need to nominate someone for training. We will be looking for the best-ever solution. Here comes the Budget-part. Every organization has got a budget for training. Now, let us try to find out what a budget is – expense or investment? More or less, this is looked as expense. When we consider the education of our children as investment, why should we consider the training of our colleague an expense? At the same breathe, let us try to answer, whether training needs a budget or not?

The irony in India is “the moment we start to earn, we stop to learn!” and it’s a different story that what we read in our colleges & schools has nothing to do with our job. We need a professional training. According to the National Employability report, 85% of Indian graduates are unfit to be directly employed and has to be given professional training.

Almost all Organizations are aware of this situation and are providing training to their people from time and again as to build the capabilities of their personnel that would, in turn, improve the competitiveness of the organization.

The learning has to be purposeful. When it is purposeful, creativity blossoms and when creativity blossoms, thinking emanates. When thinking emanates, knowledge is glowing. When Knowledge glows, economy flourishes. So, if the training is not purposeful, economy would not flourish and then it cannot be stated as in investment. People should be trained on those essentials only which would be applied by them in their Gemba.

Training is a problem solving tool. Training builds a culture of continuous learning thus continuous improvement becomes their daily routine. It will not be considered as an additional task or burden. Culture is the collective habits of individuals. When an individual becomes great, obviously the organization gets benefited. As multiple individuals become great, the organization becomes great. When the culture is built in, one does not have to chase the greatness but it follows them. This greatness is achieved through training from the best of the schools. We do get back more than what we thought from training.

Now, tell us whether training is an investment or an expense?

By Narasimhan Gopalakrishnan

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Creating a Culture of Quality: Financial incentives don’t reduce errors. Employees must be passionate about eliminating mistakes.

In most industries, quality has never mattered more. New technologies have empowered customers to seek out and compare an endless array of products from around the globe. Shoppers can click to find objective data compiled by experts at organizations such as Consumer Reports and J.D. Power and go online to read user-generated reviews at sites such as Amazon; together, these sources provide an early warning system that alerts the public to quality problems. And when customers are unhappy with a product or service, they can use social media to broadcast their displeasure. In surveys, 26% of consumers say they have used social media to air grievances about a company and its products. And this issue isn’t limited to the consumer space 75% of B2B customers say they rely on word of mouth, including social media, when making purchase decisions.


But just as companies’ margin for error has decreased, the likelihood of error has risen. In many industries, cycle times are compressing. During the recovery from the Great Recession, output gains have outpaced employment growth, and employees report straining to keep up with demands.

As a result of these pressures, managers must find a new approach to quality—one that moves beyond the traditional “total quality management” tools of the past quarter century. For two years CEB has conducted research exploring how companies can create a culture in which employees “live” quality in all their actions—where they are passionate about quality as a personal value rather than simply obeying an edict from on high. We define a “true culture of quality” as an environment in which employees not only follow quality guidelines but also consistently see others taking quality-focused actions, hear others talking about quality, and feel quality all around them.

We interviewed the quality function leaders at more than 60 multinational corporations, conducted an extensive review of academic and practitioner research, and surveyed more than 850 employees in a range of functions and industries and at all levels of seniority. Some of what we learned surprised us. Most notably, many of the traditional strategies used to increase quality monetary incentives, training, and sharing of best practices, for instance have little effect. Instead, we found, companies that take a grassroots, peer-driven approach develop a culture of quality, resulting in employees who make fewer mistakes and the companies spend far less time and money correcting mistakes.

Going Beyond Rules

What embeds quality deep in a company’s culture? And how, precisely, does an organization benefit as a result? These questions were at the heart of our “culture of quality” survey.

A minority of the employees we surveyed believe their company has succeeded in making quality a core value: Roughly 60% said they work in an environment without a culture of quality, especially when it comes to having peers who go “above and beyond.” Such companies are missing out on significant benefits. Employees who ranked their company in the top quintile in terms of quality reported addressing 46% fewer mistakes in their daily work than employees in bottom-quintile companies. In our surveys, employees report that it takes two hours, on average, to correct a mistake. Assuming an hourly wage of $42.55 (the median for CEB client companies), a bottom-quintile firm with 26,300 employees (the median head count) spends nearly $774 million a year to resolve errors, many of them preventable—$ 350 million more than a top-quintile firm. Although figures will vary according to industry and company, here’s a broad rule of thumb: For every 5,000 employees, moving from the bottom to the top quintile would save a company $67 million annually.

We also studied quality-improvement actions in eight different categories and conducted regression analyses to understand the relationship between those actions and employees’ appraisals of how rigorously their company focuses on quality. We found little or no correlation between the use of standard tools and the achievement of a culture of quality. We are not suggesting that companies abandon those tools; however, they should use them to support rules-based quality measures, not as the underpinnings of a true culture of quality.

We pinpointed four factors that drive quality as a cultural value: leadership emphasis, message credibility, peer involvement, and employee ownership of quality issues. Our research indicates that companies could do much better with all four. Nearly half the employees surveyed reported insufficient leadership emphasis on quality, and only 10% found their company’s quality messages credible. Just 38% reported high levels of peer involvement, while 20% said that their company has created a sense of employee empowerment and ownership for quality outcomes.

We have identified clear actions that can help companies improve in each of the four areas.

Maintaining a leadership emphasis on quality. Even when executives have the best intentions, there are often gaps between what they say and what they do. As a result, employees get mixed messages about whether quality is truly important.

Seagate, a $14 billion provider of media storage solutions, uses a series of leadership engagement mechanisms to help executives identify inconsistencies between their actions or decisions and the company’s ideal culture. Company leaders begin by agreeing on what would constitute an ideal culture and what behaviors would be needed to achieve it. Next, the quality and HR teams compared their definitions of “ideal culture” with employees’ observations, which revealed areas for improvement. The leaders then attended workshops that helped those spot behaviors that might be impeding their stated goal. Simulations made the lessons from the workshop concrete and memorable.

By showing leaders the gaps between the expected and the current state of their culture, Seagate created awareness and buy-in. “Executive participation has been the most important factor driving culture change,” a senior development executive told us. “Leadership has shown enthusiasm and commitment that has trickled down through the organization.” Although the company does not share its data, it says that quality metrics have risen since the program began and it expects the gains to continue.


Ensuring message credibility. Most companies energetically promote messages about the importance of quality but their efforts are wasted if the messages are not believed. One company that has been successful with credible messaging is the beverage firm Diageo, whose brands include Johnnie Walker,   Crown Royal, and Tanqueray. Confronted with the challenge of having 21,000 employees in disparate locations, Diageo identified four distinct segments of employees in terms of what drives hard work and created quality messages tailored to each one. It recognized that some workers respond best to messages emphasizing the reduced cost and hassle of producing defect-free goods, for example, while others are inspired by an emphasis on customer satisfaction. Local site managers chose the campaign they thought would most appeal at their site, and this customization helped the company’s messages resonate.

Smart leaders realize that quality messaging, like any campaign, needs to be refreshed over time. Managers should regularly test messages with their employees and use the feedback to ensure sustained relevance.

Encouraging peer involvement. Fostering peer engagement is a delicate balancing act. If leaders become overly involved in orchestration, then impact and authenticity suffer—but if they show too little support, they miss important opportunities.

One organization that has created effective peer networks is HGST (formerly Hitachi Global Storage Technologies), a Western Digital company. It uses positive social pressure to encourage employees to generate quality initiatives. The company displays employees’ ideas on posters in a busy hallway, providing a reminder that everyone at the company should work on quality. Managers publicly evaluate employees’ quality-improvement projects, highlighting not only business impact but also softer criteria, such as participant enthusiasm. HGST also organizes friendly “quality competitions” that capitalize on collective pride, not simply financial rewards, to spark ideas. “When I first joined the company, I was skeptical of the whole thing,” a quality and customer support executive told us. “But there’s a real sense of pride in work that people have developed as a result.”

Increasing employee ownership and empowerment. One of the defining traits of an organization with a true culture of quality is that employees are free to apply judgment to situations that fall outside the rules. Providing the right level of guidance is key. Too much stifles creativity and discretionary action, while too little leaves employees unclear about their authority to make decisions and carry them out.

Wrigley, best known for manufacturing chewing gum, writes “quality in action” guidelines to help employees understand the company’s expectations. It takes great care to apply the guidelines only to a short but critical list of improvement opportunities the dozen or so “quality accountability” that each function is responsible for on a daily basis—and to strive for clarity while avoiding micromanagement. In addition, Wrigley creates opportunities for employees to observe and recognize quality actions that fall outside the guidelines, and it conducts group brainstorming sessions to determine the root causes of mistakes and identify corrective actions.

The specific actions needed to help an organization shift from a rules-based quality environment to a true culture of quality will differ from company to company, but the first step in the process will always be the same: Managers must decide that a culture of quality is worth pursuing. Our research unambiguously demonstrates that it is. A culture of quality requires employees to apply skills and make decisions in highly ambiguous but critical areas while leading them toward deeper reflection about the risks and payoffs of their actions. In an environment where customers’ tolerance for quality problems is declining, a workforce that embraces quality as a core value is a significant competitive advantage.

Acknowledgement: Ashwin Srinivasan and Bryan Kurey (CEB – Corporate Executive Board)

This article also appeared in Harvard Business Review, April 2014

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Deming’s 14 principles

Kaizen®/Lean have been at the heart of many companies success. We know that Kaizen®/Lean needs to be built into every level of a company and become part of everything a company does. It has to be adopted by Everyone, practiced Everyday and Everywhere.

Deming's 14 principles

Dr. W. Edwards Deming, a statistician who went to Japan to help with the census after World War II, taught statistical process control to leaders of prominent Japanese businesses. His message was this: By improving quality, companies will decrease expenses as well as increase productivity and market share. After applying Deming’s techniques, Japanese businesses saw great success. He didn’t receive much recognition for his work until 1982, when he wrote the book now titled “Out of the Crisis.” This book summarized his famous 14-point management philosophy.

There’s much to learn from these 14 points. Study after study of highly successful companies shows that following the philosophy leads to significant improvements. That’s why these 14 points have become a standard reference for quality transformation.

  1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.
  5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. Institute leadership (see Point 12). The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.
  8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company.
  9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.
    • Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership.
    • Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.
  11. Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.
  12. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective.
  13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.
  14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.


Deming’s points apply to any type and size of business. Service companies need to control quality just as much as manufacturing companies. And the philosophy applies equally to large multinational corporations, different divisions or departments within a company, and one-man operations.

Deming’s 14 points have had far-reaching effects on the business world.

While they don’t really tell us exactly how to implement the changes he recommends, they do give us enough information about what to change. The challenge for all of us is to apply Deming’s points to our companies, departments, and teams. Taken as a whole, the 14 points are a guide to the importance of building customer awareness, reducing variation, and fostering constant continuous change and improvement throughout organizations.

Acknowledgement: www.deming.org

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Annual Award Event 2014

The Kaizen Institute AIM (Africa – India – Middle East) team would like to thank each & every of its client across AIM for the Trust & Confidence that they bestowed on us.

We are happy and proud to share with all of you that we have recently concluded our 11th Annual Kaizen Institute Global Award Event (held at Jaipur, India  from 20 to 24th July) & our team is conferred with six awards. 

This would have been impossible but for the support & trust our clients have in our services. These Award & Recognition motivates us to remain ever so committed to helping our clients implement and live the Kaizen® Way!

Following awards were conferred to AIM team:

1. Mr. Kuldeep Tyagi, Consultant of the year – COTY

2. Kaizen Institute India, People’s choice – Case Study Award

3. Kaizen Institute Africa, People’s choice – Case Study Award

4. Kaizen Institute India, Gemba Training Award

5. Kaizen Institute India, ICHI – BAN Award

6. Kaizen Institute Africa, Pioneer Award



To read full report please click here