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What is the Kaizen method: steps and examples

In social networks and other media, the Kaizen method has been talked about for a long time. This, although considered by many a mere type of methodology or business tool is, in reality, and according to those who have applied it, a work philosophy and good practices that allow excellence to be achieved in various areas of business activity and, consequently, of his own personal life.

If you want to know more about the Kaizen method, the steps that must be followed to carry it out correctly and examples of success about this method, we recommend that you continue reading the following article. Discover what the Kaizen method is: steps and examples .

What is the Kaizen method – Kaizen philosophy

The Kaizen philosophy emerged as a socio-economic movement in Japan after the Second World War. The country, plunged into a crisis that encompassed all areas of society, saw how Western nations progressed towards a future that, for them, was increasingly distant. In order to compete with the companies and the great giants of Europe and the United States, the Japanese government devised an organization and management system aimed at achieving success and perfection in all areas of a company . To do this, all areas of the company had to be worked on: human resources, safety, productivity, environment, etc.

With time and the help of the Kaizen methodology, Japanese companies achieved excellence and total quality of their products. Its motto: “Today, better than yesterday. Tomorrow, better than today”, perfectly summarizes a philosophy in which a fighting spirit and continuous improvement is the main engine and the basis of everything. Thanks to Kaizen, Japan rose from its ashes and, in a short time, became an economic power.

The Kaizen method has crossed borders and has become one of the preferred methods for many companies that want to optimize the resources they already have to obtain every last drop of profit. These are the three main points of the Kaizen philosophy :

  • Achieve a perfect and quality product: reduce costs both in the production of the final product and at the energy level.
  • Improve the employment situation of employees through: the creation of a safe environment and workplace where one feels valued, the development of safety protocols that promote safety at work, risk reduction and others dangers.
  • Reduce the environmental impact through an adequate waste management policy. If you want to know more about this point.
What is the Kaizen method: steps and examples - What is the Kaizen method - Kaizen philosophy

How to apply the Kaizen continuous improvement process

As you can see, the Kaizen method has advantages that any company, whether large or small, would be eager to achieve. Whether you are an entrepreneur or want to start your business or work in the quality department of a company, you will be interested in knowing how to apply the Kaizen continuous improvement process. For this, it is essential to apply what are called the “5 S” :

  1. Seiri : in this phase, the question arises of what elements are really necessary to produce (the elements that reduce time and resources) and eliminate or reduce those that have proven to be useless or do not contribute anything to production.
  2. Seiton : once the superfluous has been eliminated, the seiton must list and organize those elements that are essential in production.
  3. Seiso : this third step consists of the problem-solving capacity and the reaction adopted by a group of people. In this “s”, it is important to know how to identify a problem in order to apply the most convenient solution.
  4. Seiketsu : human capital is an essential part of any company and the Kaizen method is clear about it. Fostering a positive work environment where there are guarantees of health and safety at work, as well as sufficient incentives, will encourage teamwork and excellent performance of all the talents of a business.
  5. Shitsuke : means commitment. The commitment on the part of everyone, departments, managers and employees to ensure that the Kaizen method is successfully implemented in the company.
What is the Kaizen method: steps and examples - How to apply the Kaizen continuous improvement process

Kaizen method: steps and practical examples

Once the 5 S’s are known and begin to be applied, problems can arise when it comes to taking the appropriate steps to ensure that the Kaizen method is successfully implemented. Companies such as the vehicle manufacturer Toyota or giants in the world of technology such as Sony, have been working for decades and continuously improving thanks to the Kaizen method, achieving that their products are required worldwide for their quality and excellence. Some practical examples that can help you take the most appropriate steps to achieve Kaizen success are:

  1. Learning to communicate : fostering communication between the various departments and hierarchies of a company is vital to detect failures or errors in the management or manufacture of a product, as well as to resolve conflicts and give birth to new ideas that improve and contribute something to the company. company. Establishing an agenda of meetings with a varied duration and frequency (weekly, monthly, quarterly,…) is an excellent idea.
  2. Promote order : maintaining a tidy and clean workplace translates into a way of working with the same characteristics. Picking up our work table after the day will mean that, the next day, we can work much better.
  3. Teamwork : This is surely not the first time you’ve heard about the importance of teamwork. Organizing groups of a few people (2 or 4, for example) to carry out a project is an excellent idea if we want to encourage employee involvement and proactivity.
  4. Establish a common objective : that the different teams that we discussed in the previous point have a common objective, it will help each and every one of the employees of a company to come together to achieve success. The motivation of the employee at an individual and global level is essential to achieve the best results, thus nullifying any attempt at sabotage or bad practices within the company.
What is the Kaizen method: steps and examples - Kaizen Method: steps and practical examples

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