The Kaizen method
of continuous incremental improvements is an
originally Japanese management concept for incremental (gradual,
continuous) change (improvement). K.
is actually a way of life philosophy, assuming that every aspect of
our life deserves to be constantly improved. The Kaizen philosophy lies behind
many Japanese management concepts such as
Total Quality Control, Quality
Control circles, small group activities, labor relations.
elements of K. are quality, effort, involvement of all
employees, willingness to
change, and communication.
distinguish between innovation (radical) and Kaizen (continuous).
K. means literally: change (kai) to become good (zen).
The foundation of
the Kaizen method consists
of 5 founding elements:
5. suggestions for
Out of this
foundation three key factors in K. arise:
- elimination of
waste (muda) and inefficiency
five-S framework for good
1. Seiri - tidiness
2. Seiton - orderliness
3. Seiso - cleanliness
4. Seiketsu - standardized clean-up
5. Shitsuke - discipline
When to apply
K? Although it is
difficult to give generic advice it is clear that it fits well
in incremental change situations that require long-term change and in
collective cultures. More individual cultures that are more focused on
short-term success are often more conducive to concepts such as
Business Process Reengineering.
When Kaizen is
compared to BPR is it clear the K. philosophy is more
people-oriented, more easy to implement, requires long-term discipline. BPR on the other hand is harder, technology-oriented, enables radical
change but requires major change management skills.
Compare with Kaizen:
Deming cycle |
Sigma | Value
Chain | Just-in-time
| Change Phases |
Change Approaches | Core Groups |
| Business Process Reengineering
| Change Management
| Dimensions of Change
| Force Field
Analysis | Value
Stream Mapping |
Eight Attributes of Management Excellence |
Principles of Reinvention |
Fourteen Points of
More management models