Kaizen means continuing improvement. When Kaizen is applied to a workplace, it means ongoing improvement involving workers and managers alike. Over the decades, Kaizen has become a philosophy for the business world. The Kaizen approach delivers a few small improvements but the culture of aligned small improvements and standardization drives significant changes to enhance overall productivity.
Understanding Kaizen in Broader Perspective:
Planning for improvement, making changes, monitoring results and adjustments are the four key pillars of Kaizen methodology. The kaizen activity cycle is defined by – “Plan – Do – Check – Act. Kaizen culture is perceived as the mindset as well as the way of a balanced life. It improves not only the processes for enhanced productivity and profitability; it improves the practitioners’ efficiency also.
Five Key Benefits of Incorporating Kaizen Culture within an Organization:
- Everyone Speaks the Same Language – Small continual changes and standardization policies automatically drive everyone over the same page.
- Develops a Growth Oriented Mindset – It units everyone having the same mindset and approach for development and improvement.
- Motivates the Employees – It motivates all the employees for improvement because they see themselves as part of the incorporated change.
- Readiness to Accept New Ideas – With continuous improvement strategy deployment, employees get accustomed to accepting new ideas with a notion- ‘change is must improve’.
- Improved retention – Kaizen culture in an organization keeps the employees satisfied and engaged; so, they tend to stay longer.
Why Kaizen Improves Productivity:
- Kaizen can be applied to any task, initiative, and goal because it is simple & effective.
- Smaller tasks are better manageable and easier to plan for on-time completion.
- Each completed task becomes an achievement that encourages for performing better towards the ultimate goal.
- Kaizen methodology eliminates the waste; so, it improves productivity.
- The policy for continuous improvement improves the process.
- It is simple to follow by one and all.
Five ways in Which Kaizen Improves Productivity:
Kaizen deployment to improve productivity can be planned primarily in five ways:
- Standardize: It involves the workers from all the departments and segments to develop a process that can be sustained.
- Measure: Collecting and analyzing the data to assess the efficiency of a process.
- Compare: Comparing the data against particular requirements. Does it save time? Does it accomplish the task successfully?
- Innovate: Looking for innovating ways to improve productivity with a focus on planned profitability and growth rate.
- Repeat: Going back to the starting line and to start the journey again with a review of each change incorporated.
How to Deploy Kaizen for Productivity Improvement:
- Make Organization’s Leaders Convinced:
The primary requirement of the successful deployment of Kaizen is the support of the organization’s leaders. The organization must be convinced of the importance of Kaizen deployment. If the organization’s leaders are convinced and ready to sustain Kaizen culture for continuous improvement, you will get all the required support.
- Make Everyone A Partner In Kaizen Deployment:
Instilling the feeling of being a partner or contributor in the organization’s growth is important to sustain the continuous improvements. Kaizen is a long-term practice for developing the mindset for improvements; don’t take it as the management initiative. Wide-scale understanding of Kaizen will bring momentum to your efforts to enhance productivity.
- Empower the employees
Employees, closest to identified problems, are the best-equipped for solving them. Support the concerned employees to implement logical improvements. And, here comes the role of Kaizen training that should be part of a continuous improvement plan.
- Focus on small changes
Apply the changes in small and incremental steps. Test and implement small changes. The practice reduces the pressures as well as possible risks of incorporating a major change. Emphasize on eliminating the root causes of a problem; this approach empowers the concerned employees to address the small issues at an earlier stage before they could boom to harm productivity.
- Document The Processes & Resulted Performance Before & After The Changes:
“Speaking with data and management with facts” is the core of Kaizen approach. Documentation helps to evaluate the effectiveness of changes. Mapping the processes helps you minimize the wastes and to set a new benchmark for increased productivity at maximum ROI. Documentation and analysis of metrics aligned to quality, cost, customer satisfaction, resource utilization, space utilization, efficiency, and other KPIs will keep the organization right track.
- Create your Standards:
Standards are crucial to kaizen because these create a baseline for continuous improvement. Standard guidelines reduce the variability in processes, production, and quality.
- Review and Repeat:
Observe the processes and workplace after implementing Kaizen. You may still notice some waste. Now, the next task is to reduce the noticed waste through innovative concepts.
Implementing Kaizen is a long-term commitment to investing in strategic efforts. Building a Kaizen mindset for continuous productivity enhancement requires daily efforts at all the levels by everyone. Kaizen has helped numbers of organizations to improve the productivity, quality, and efficiencies that decided to train the concerned stakeholders and to deploy the gained insights and practical expertise.