KaizenKaizen is known as the single most powerful philosophy in Japanese management. The characters used in the Kaizen symbol literally means “good change” or “change for the better.” Kaizen is most often associated with manufacturing and used to reduce production cycles while improving the quality of goods (zero-defect rates). The concept is usually bundled with “lean” manufacturing or Lean Six Sigma which focuses on identifying the current process to get things done and then creating a streamlined approach to achieve better results with less costs and in less time.

Kaizen is not just for manufacturers. The quest for constant improvement is not just for manufacturers, it’s for all business entities including for profit companies of all sizes, associations and other non-profit organizations, and public sector organizations serving communities.

 Kaizen is not just for business, it’s personal. It’s about being a better you than you were yesterday. It’s about practicing self-discipline and taking responsibility for your actions and your life.

The 10 Organizational Principles of Kaizen

  1. Abolish old, traditional concepts and assumptions.
  2. Say NO to the status quo and assume new methods will work.
  3. Accept no excuses. Instead look for ways to make things happen.
  4. Do not expect or worry about perfection, but look to continually improve - starting now.
  5. If something is wrong, correct it.
  6. Be economical. Save money through small improvements and spend the saved money on further improvements.
  7. Empower everyone to think of ways to solve problems. Good ideas flow when the going gets tough.
  8. Before making decisions, ask why five times to get to the root cause.
  9. Get information/opinions from multiple people to gain different perspectives (ten people rather than one).
  10. Improvement has no limits. Never stop trying to improve.

When everyone practices Kaizen at work staff members are organized, less stressed and more productive. Customers benefit from improved response times, quick resolutions to problems and higher quality products and services.

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