what is kaizen

If you are working in a manufacturing-based company you have probably heard the word ‘Kaizen’. In this article we will understand what kaizen is and what are its benefits.

What is kaizen?

Before explaining Kaizen let us first understand the meaning of this word.

The word kaizen belongs to the Japanese language. It can be subdivided into two parts and they are ‘Kai’ and ‘Zen’.

Meanings of both the words separately in English are

Kai: Gradual

Zen: Improvement

Hence the whole meaning of Kaizen is ‘Gradual Improvement for Betterment’.

Kaizen is a method, process or machine improvement technique that works gradually but continuously. A kaizen can be used to achieve any of these six things.

  1. Improvement of productivity
  2. Improvement of quality of product
  3. Decrease in manufacturing cost of product
  4. Decreased product delivery time
  5. Improvement of workplace safety
  6. Increase in morale of employee

Do you know:

Before moving on to kaizens a company should previously implement 5S. If you do not know what is 5S then click on the link given below.

What is 5S?

How to get kaizen ideas?

Taking about improvement sounds cool but getting ideas and implementing them is a big problem. Here is a method by which employee give idea by themselves and also implement the kaizen.

This is a step by step process. Lets stars by very first step.

  1. Make kaizen teams

Make small kaizen teams which includes all the members working on that particular area. Appoint a team leader (on rotation basis). Make a weakly meeting schedule of that team and make a meeting attendance register.

  1. Make a kaizen idea register

Make a kaizen idea register and give its responsibility to team leader. Make it mandatory to give at least one kaizen idea monthly per employee. This practice will provide a kaizen idea pool. Give prizes to employees for giving more than one idea.

  1. Evaluate kaizen idea

Appoint a team of executives to evaluate the feasibility of kaizen ideas given by kaizen teams. The feasibility can be measured on the basis of money required to do kaizen, technical feasibility, time required to do kaizen etc.

  1. Give reward for a good kaizen idea

Reward the employees who has given very good kaizen ideas. The reward could be a small amount of money or a gift. This reward is only for giving a good idea, it should have nothing to do with the kaizen implementation. And at last motivate them (who have given good ideas) to implement those kaizen ideas.

  1. Appoint an executive to supervise the process of kaizen implementation

The selected kaizen ideas should be implemented as soon as possible. Company should appoint an executive to motivate, facilitate and supervise the kaizen implementation process.

  1. Share the profit with kaizen team

If the kaizen is related to cost saving then the company must share a percentage of cost saved by the kaizen to its kaizen team members. Many companies give 25% of cost saved (annually, only one time) to the kaizen team. It provides a strong motivation to the employees and the company becomes a self-improvement machine.

Here is a ready made kaizen implementation process cycle, you can keep it for your ready reference.

kaizen cycle

Image source

Benefits of kaizens

It is a very beneficial process, some of its benefits are.

  • Systems become near perfect in the long run
  • Self-correcting attitude comes in the organization
  • Team working ability improves
  • More employee engagement
  • Improvement of productivity
  • Improvement of quality of product
  • Decrease in manufacturing cost of product
  • Decreased product delivery time
  • Improvement of workplace safety
  • Increase in morale of employee

We hope now you have better understanding of ‘kaizen’. Every organization should implement the kaizen because it is a win-win process and very profitable in long run.

Do you know:

Kaizen is a sub-part of TPM (Total Productive Maintenance). Click the link given below to learn TPM.

What is TPM?

Featured image source

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