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What is Kaizen? Everything Your Team Needs to Know

Posted by Danielle Yoon

Jun 3, 2021 11:17:27 AM

In 1986, Masaaki Imai introduced the world to the philosophy and practice of Kaizen in his book Kaizen, The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success. We highly recommend reading it if you are exploring ways to make your organization more efficient and better at achieving continuous improvement. (We’ll recommend a few other titles at the end of this post as well.) Our aim today is to share information about the framework of Kaizen. Hopefully, it will leave you ready to discuss the approach and eager to learn more.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Methodology

11 Fundamental Kaizen Principles

Posted by Danielle Yoon

Feb 22, 2021 12:15:30 PM

In Japanese, the word Kaizen means "good change." It describes the continuous improvement of all functions of an organization across the entire hierarchy.

Kaizen's guiding philosophy is simple: operations can always be made better, even if they are functioning at an acceptable level for the moment. In addition, all problems are recognized as opportunities to improve.

Of course, creating a culture driven by Kaizen thinking is easier said than done. Fortunately, some simple yet powerful ideas can shape how team members think. Embracing these ideas makes improvement inevitable.

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Topics: Kaizen, Leadership, Improvement Methodology

How to Improve Business Processes with Kaizen

Posted by Clint Corley

Feb 1, 2021 12:06:51 PM

Most organizations don't have a single solution for addressing all business process hurdles. Even those that spend time and money managing months-long improvement projects often see only temporary results. 

The good news is that lasting business process improvement doesn't have to be complicated or require dedicated resources. Using the Kaizen method of continuous improvement, organizations can change slowly but steadily as they drive toward optimal processes.

Better yet, anyone from the CEO to frontline managers and staff can implement it.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Methodology

Kaizen Thinking: 4 Ideas to Shape Your Outlook

Posted by Kade Jansson

Dec 21, 2020 12:04:19 PM

In Japanese, 'Kaizen" means "good change" (Kai = change, Zen = good). Kaizen describes a corporate philosophy of continuous improvement across the entire organization. In a clutter of Kaizen, employees work alongside each other to ensure consistent positive change.

Kaizen's foundation is simple: operations can always be made better, even if they are working well right now. When there are problems, people who practice Kaizen see them as opportunities for improvement.

The world's most successful companies have adopted Kaizen as a way to remain competitive by getting better all of the time.

While there are many tools and techniques used by Kaizen organizations, and even substantial management methodologies such as Lean and Six Sigma that build on Kaizen thinking, you don't need a complicated approach to benefit from Kaizen.

All that is required is a mindful approach to problems and processes. Of course, technology can be a big assist in implementing improvements, but positive change starts with what you and other leaders in your organization believe.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Culture, Improvement Methodology

How to Spread the Kaizen Thinking Throughout Your Organization

Posted by Adam Darnell

Sep 28, 2020 4:01:09 PM

One of the most significant challenges leaders must consider when they embrace the Kaizen approach to continuous improvement is getting that way of thinking to take hold and become part of the organization's daily operations. Organizations often have small bright spots where Kaizen is working wonders, but there are other areas where continuous improvement hasn't yet become a reality. To provide insight into how to spread the Kaizen mindset, we've looked to some of the most successful business leaders. Here is what they have to offer.

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Topics: Kaizen, Leadership

Who Should Take Part in Kaizen?

Posted by JJ Puentes

Aug 25, 2020 1:15:38 PM

One question that we get asked often by leadership teams trying to adopt the Kaizen business approach that made Toyota so successful is who in the organization should take part? It's a good question, but the answer is easy to find by examining the principles behind the Kaizen philosophy.

Kaizen means "good change" or "continuous improvement" in Japanese. Organizations that practice Kaizen believe that small, incremental changes can produce remarkable results and that ideas for improvement should come from the people who operate the process to be improved. When Toyota started focusing on Kaizen, they made it clear that continuous improvement was part of everyone's job description. Ideally, modern organizations will develop a culture of improvement that involves every single member of the team.

Once you realize that everyone should take part in Kaizen, it makes sense to think about how. Each role in the organization has a different set of responsibilities related to continuous improvement.

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Topics: Kaizen

Essential Features of Kaizen Software

Posted by Kade Jansson

Jul 20, 2020 4:09:38 PM

Most people don't have much experience evaluating Kaizen software solutions, so you are not alone if you are at a loss about what to look for. Kaizen software can help bring your organization together around improvement work. It can accelerate the pace of good change and demonstrate the impact of the team's efforts. But there is a wide range of solutions available, some more helpful than others. Over the years, our clients have helped us build this list of essential features. It should prove useful during your search.

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Topics: Kaizen, Software, Continuous Improvement Software, Lean Software

How to Prepare for Your Next Kaizen Event

Posted by Maggie Millard

Mar 23, 2020 1:43:53 PM

Kaizen events, also called rapid improvement events, or blitzes, are a useful way to implement positive change in short order. Still, it takes planning and preparation to make them as helpful as possible. We’ve heard dozens of horror stories about Kaizen events that went wrong. That’s not a shock because there are lots of ways that improvement events can go astray. The best way to avoid that fate is to put in the effort beforehand to make sure your event is a huge success. Here are our most important tips.

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Topics: Kaizen, Improvement Process

What is Kaizen? The Short and Long Answers

Posted by Clint Corley

Jan 2, 2020 1:41:39 PM

When asked to describe his threshold test for obscenity in 1964, United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said, "… perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it."

I feel a bit that way about defining the improvement concept known as kaizen. There are many ways to describe it, and I will share some of them in this post, but because kaizen is a way of thinking, of being, really, it is easier to recognize than to delineate. I do not doubt that there are countless organizations and people that practice the principles of kaizen without having ever heard the word.

Hopefully, once you've read this post, you'll know more about what kaizen looks like and how you can apply the philosophy to your daily approach to work.

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Topics: Kaizen

Top 10 Tips for a Successful Kaizen Event

Posted by Maggie Millard

Dec 19, 2019 12:34:00 PM

Kaizen events, also called rapid improvement events, are an excellent way to tackle some of your organization’s trickiest challenges. During a Kaizen event, a small team dedicates 100% of their time for a period of three to five days to dig into the root cause of a problem, identify possible solutions, conduct an improvement cycle, and document their results. Because so much valuable time is devoted to the process, you must get the most out of every use of this CI technique. Here are a few ways to make sure your next event is a huge success.

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Topics: Lean, Kaizen, Improvement Process

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