The basic principles of the Kaizen approach
Kaizen (改善) is the Sino-Japanese word for “improvement”. In business, kaizen refers to activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers.
In other words, underlying the Kaizen approach is a dedication to improving effectiveness, satisfaction, and waste.
The core tenets of continuous improvement of Kaizen include:
- Standardizing a process so that it’s repeatable and organized
- Focusing on measurability and evaluating progress using data
- Comparing results against your requirements (did you deliver on your promise?)
- Innovating new and better ways to achieve similar results
- Responding to changing circumstance and evolving your methods over time
Since Kaizen is a philosophy and not a rigid system, it is flexible and adaptable to each and everyone’s working style, preferences, and personality.
You can plug-and-play select practices depending on what resonates for you. Some people live by the mantra to get better each day, while others opt to incorporate Kaizen through the 5S approach : Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize, Sustain.