Continuous improvement is a process carried out in an organization to continually eradicate problems from their root causes (Marsh 1998). It is a paradigm that is deeply entrenched in the total quality management tenets. It is a step by step process rather than a onetime overhaul event. This, therefore, qualifies the term continuous since it is a bit by bit process, each involving continuous improvement. The history of continuous improvement has roots in the Japanese business fraternity. The philosophy of continuous improvement permeates the Japanese business culture in a great way. Kaizen is the Japanese word that represents continuous improvement. Kaizen was initially implemented in the Japanese business community after the Second World War. It was a product of quality management by lecturers who had toured the country (Marsh 1998). However, the principles of continuous improvement are now practiced all around the world. This is due to the fact that continuous improvement can be applied in various sectors. For instance, it has been inculcated in several government frameworks, the health care sector, banking industry, and the recent beneficiary being the supply chain.
The main objective of continuous improvement is to eliminate waste of resources. Initially, the Japanese practiced continuous improvement in the engineering sector and manufacturing, hence it was applied to facilitate reduction in cost. Continuous improvement, thus, involves all stakeholders from management to the employees in search for waste avenues and continually reducing the wastes. Continuous improvement design is dynamic from organization to organization. It is, hence, difficult for a company to adopt another company's continuous improvement strategy due to the complexities involved (Poirier & Houser 1993). This paper explains what continuous improvement is in the context of an organization's success. It seeks to... [continues]
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