Kaizen is a system of continuous improvement in quality, technology, processes, company culture, productivity, safety and leadership. The concept of kaizen was born in Japan following World War II. The word Kaizen means “ Continuous improvement’. It comes from a Japanese word (Kai), which means “change” or “to correct” and (zen) means “good”.
In 1986 Masaaki Imai introduced to the Western world the Japanese term Kaizen and made it famous through his book, Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success. Translated in fourteen languages, Kaizen became a fad the world over.
In 1997 Imai introduced an evolved form of Kaizen in his book Gemba Kaizen
The Kaizen improvement gives attention on the use of the following factors:
i. Value-added and non-value added work activities.
ii. Muda, which refers to the seven types of waste – Excess production, time delay, transportation, processing, inventory, wasted motion and defective parts.
iii. Principles of motion study and the use of cellular manufacturing.
iv. Principles of material handling.
v. Documentation of standard operating procedures.
vi. The five S’s for workplace workplace organization, the five Japanese words, that mean proper arrangement (Seiko), orderliness (seiton), personal cleanliness (seiketso), clean up (seiso), and self discipline (shitsuke).
vii. Visual display for better communication.
viii. Just – in –time principle to produce only in right quantities, at the right time and with right resources.
ix. Poka-yoke to prevent or detect errors (deviations).
x. Team dynamics, which include problem solving, communication skills and conflict resolution.