Kaizen - Continuous Improvement Process


Instead, they organised ll employees in a groups of approximately 5 people. If                        
Instead, they organised ll employees in a groups of approximately 5 people. If                        
  one member of the group has the idea, that person  present it to the other members of a
team. If the Idea is adopted, they simply go with it, without need for   further approval. The
exception could be the situation   when the Idea requires a large investment. This process     
exception could be the situation   when the Idea requires a large investment. This process     
 of continuous improvement is called Kaizen.
of continuous improvement is called Kaizen.



This  is an example of bottom-up system of continuous  improvement process. This is the
way that is generating  a huge pool of ideas that can improve the effectiveness  and
efficiency of an organisation. Kaizen encourages the  concept of worker empowerment.
Kaizen is the management  approach that recognise the potential of workers and  does not
require managerial approvals for improvement  initiatives. This is the system that greatly
depends on   the cultural setup of an organisation. If the management  of an organisation
assumes that workers are lazy and  incompetent, so there is a need for a strong controlling   
                      mechanism, then the Kaizen is not possible.

The   concept of Kaizen is process change and improvement    through the large number of
small steps. This process is  ultimately leading to a competitive advantage of an             
organisation. This means that an organisation will be  more productive at the lower cost. At
same time the   primarily job of managers will not be to find small  improvements, but to be
focused on bigger changes.

The  principle is the same for the whole company, but is   mostly referred to shop level of
the company. The focus  is given on making better things instead of making   things better.
Kaizen requires dedicated, empowered and  multiskiling workforce that operates with
minimum of        direction and approval mechanism.

The   Kaizen requires advanced stage of networking. Teams need   to be formed in quickly,
and they need to start with  they work in short time. Networks of people who share           
common experiences and problems need to be encouraged. Mostly, these groups are
creating a new ideas and initiatives. Also, they overcome obstacles in a creative  way.

In  general, sharing of ideas and Best Practice solutions is  very important. Unfortunately
sharing of ideas is not   always the case. It is the imperative to find the way to                         
integrate the energy and creativeness of individuals  into the network of people who deal
with same problems.

Within  every organisation there are several restrictions that   resist to Kaizen-like
improvement process. The most  common is Silo-thinking, which may be inter departmental   
   or inter company, for organisations that operate in more  countries. The common obstacle
is concern about    additional costs that may appear. Improvement frequently   requires
investments needed to conduct the change that  will improve organisation's efficiency.
Finally, there  is resistance of some managers to loose the control over  the processes.

Kaizen is not something that is easy to implement. First it  must start from the top and
gradually to transfer the    logic of the whole concept to the lowest level. The    Kaizen as a
continuous improvement process that need to    be encouraged. Today, every organisation
is faced with   rapidly changing environment, market and consumer's    preference. Only the
organisation that is capable to   transform quickly can stay competitive. The Kaizen is           
definitively the concept that can support this   transformation capability, therefore it should
be   introduced and supported.

Laurus Nobilis has 11 years of experience in FMCG business. He has been working in
different functions, primarily in Sales Department and Supply Chain. In 2007 he has started
the http://www.biz-development.com web site dedicated to development of managerial skills
and knowledges necessary for running the business.

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