Kaizen is a Japanese term referring to continuous improvement. Kaizen is applicable outside of manufacturing – improvement at workplaces, activity, and any business process. Injecting Kaizen culture in the workplace enables employees to get empowered to participate in improvement efforts which ultimately produces invaluable results to the business.

For instance, developing an effective closed-loop communication framework across functions to share knowledge and avoid errors is a Kaizen approach that benefits the organization. In manufacturing, redesigning product architecture to save cost and improve manufacturability is a good example of Kaizen.

Most companies have implemented “Kaizen event” aimed at improving a certain area by forming a team in determining inefficiencies of the current situation and implementing improvement plans within a given timeline. Executing a Kaizen event will have the following steps;

  • Define objectives – what do you want to happen both in the short and long term?
  • Assemble a team – select a facilitator and assign roles to members
  • Train – educate the team using improvement methodologies and tools
  • Review the current state – assess existing processes of the project selected
  • Develop improvement plans – create and document actionable improvement plans
  • Execute – implement improvement plans and monitor progress
  • Review results – compare results against metrics – the desired outcome
  • Follow-up – communicate team members regarding the success of Kaizen event – what works and what does not then make follow-ups for improvement in the future

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