Understand Kaizen in no time! Find out everything you need to know about this innovative concept with this practical and accessible guide.
In an increasingly competitive business world, companies must strive to constantly do better by boosting their productivity, optimising the quality of their products and services and eliminating waste and inefficiency. Kaizen, which was developed by the Japanese engineer Taiichi Ohno, widely considered to be the father of the Toyota Production System, is a continuous improvement process which allows companies to achieve all these goals and more. With its rapid results, minimal expense and almost universal applicability, Kaizen could be the tool you need to take your business to the next level.
In 50 minutes you will be able to:
• Understand what Kaizen is and why it works
• Learn how to apply the key tools and methods in Kaizen
• Master a range of related quality management approaches
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Kaizen first appeared in Japan during the 1950s, when an engineer, Taiichi Ohno (1912-1990), created the Toyota Production System, a type of work organisation based on the reduction of costs together with improved productivity and product quality. The Toyota Production System includes a series of tools to achieve previously established quality, profitability and cost reduction objectives. These include just-in-time manufacturing and Kaizen.
Kaizen is an approach involving continuous improvement that can be applied to a production line. From the Japanese words Kai, meaning ‘change’, and Zen, meaning ‘good’ or ‘better’, Kaizen is based on the constant adaptation of existing tools and procedures to improve the final output. This approach, which requires the participation of all employees and managers, is considered more as a state of mind than a real method. It encompasses several other tools that can be used together, such as PDCA, Total Quality Management and Single-Minute Exchange or Die.
Kaizen originated in Asia and marks a break with the Western system, in the sense that it aims for small improvements rather than major innovations. The changes involved are small and continuous, and therefore do not require substantial investment. This approach is mainly applied in organisations where there is a culture of belonging, which is typical of Japanese companies. In such companies, everybody, from the CEO down to ordinary workers, shares the same loyalty and feeling of belonging towards their company. Consequently, they strive to carry out their work as well as possible, and therefore to constantly improve upon it; this concept of work has contributed to the huge success of the Toyota company.
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