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Preview of Business Process Management and Continuous Improvement Executive Guide Series eBook 'How to Use Kaizen for Increased Profitability and Organizational Excellence' by Dr. Shruti Bhat
Improvements through Kaizen have a focus. Kaizen generates process-oriented thinking is people-oriented and is directed at people’s efforts. Rather than identifying employees as the ‘problem’, Kaizen emphasizes that the ‘process’ is the ‘target’ and employees can provide improvements by understanding how their joint fits into the process and changing it.
The essence of Kaizen is that, people that perform a certain task are most knowledgeable about that task; consequently, by involving them and showing confidence in their capabilities, ownership of the process is raised to its highest level. In addition, the team effort encourages innovation and change and by involving all layers of employees, the imaginary organizational walls disappear to make room for productive improvements. From such a perspective, Kaizen is not only an approach to manufacturing competitiveness, but also everybody’s business, because its premise is based on the concept that every person has an interest in improvement.
The roots of Kaizen reach back to the late 1940s, when Japan’s economy was still reeling from the second World War.
Kaizen principles have been viewed as one of the key factors to Japanese competitiveness. It begins with the admission that every organization has problems, which provide opportunities for change. It evolves around involving everyone in the organization and largely depends on cross-functional teams that can be empowered to challenge the status quo.
‘It is not necessary to change.
Survival is not mandatory.”
- W. Edwards Deming
Working with Deming and other consultants, Japanese industries created several new management approaches, one of which was Kaizen. Using these approaches, they were soon able to out-produce their counterparts in other industrial nations, and earn a reputation for quality and economy. Today, Japan is a world leader in auto and electronics manufacturing!
Kaizen techniques became famous when Toyota used them to rise to world’s automotive leadership. The company is credited as pioneer to formalize Kaizen technique and implement it as part of a global business plan. Rather than undertake large projects, Toyota’s staff was encouraged to identify problems, no matter how small, trace their root causes and implement all necessary solutions.
Over a single year, one of Toyota’s plants in the United States recorded over 75,000 suggestions from 7,000 employees, and reported implementing over 99% of those suggestions. Every implemented step had a positive effect on safety, efficiency, productivity, and/or reliability. While each step may have been small on its own, the total result was a drastic and long-lasting improvement in the company.
That’s the drive of Kaizen — many small steps, all in the right direction, continuing indefinitely.
Since Kaizen comes from the words, "Renew the heart and make it good." Therefore, adaptation of the Kaizen concept also requires changes in "the heart of the business", corporate culture and structure, since Kaizen enables companies to translate the corporate vision in every aspect of a company's operational practice.
Much of the focus in Kaizen is on reducing "waste" and this waste takes EIGHT forms:
End of sample chapter from the book. Enjoyed the preview?
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How to use Kaizen for Increased Profitability and Organizational Excellence?
About the author:
Shruti Bhat, PhD (Tech.), MBA, Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt is Continuous Improvement mastermind for Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices Industry. She is often called "Profitability expert' More about Shruti at http://www.shrutibhat.com/
Connect with Shruti:
Dr. Shruti U. Bhat
Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Continuous Improvement and Business Transformation Consultant
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Kaizen book at # 4 on Amazon Best Sellers List!