Six Sigma Blog: The Power of Kaizen

The Power of Kaizen

Kaizen – the word has different connotations in Japanese and Chinese, but the end results are the same. The Japanese pronounce it as kai (change) and zen (good) while the Chinese say Gai Shan (the action to correct). Either way, kaizen means to influence a change for the better. Kaizen’s goals include:

  • Elimination of waste by removing activities that add cost but no value
  • Just in Time delivery methods to enahnce inventory management
  • Standardizing work processes and activities
  • Appropriate equipment of the right size
  • Paced moving lines
  • Production load leveling of amount and types

Kaizen, if applied correctly, makes hard work extinct, teaches you to improve using scientific processes, and humanizes the workplace. The three important musts for kaizen are:

  • Systematic thinking
  • A broad view of processes and results, and not just results
  • Non-judgmental attitude where no blame is placed

which are implemented with the application of the five founding elements of kaizen:

  • Teamwork
  • Personal discipline
  • Improved morale
  • Quality circles
  • Suggestions for improvement

Kaizen is a continuous cycle of the following processes:

  • Standardization of operations
  • Measurement of cycle time and in-process inventory of the standardized operation
  • Comparison of measured values and required values
  • Innovation to meet requirements and improve productivity
  • Standardization of the new, improved operations