The Japanese word for continuous improvement, kaizen, is often used interchangeably with the term continuous improvement. From the Japanese character kai, meaning change, and the character zen, meaning good, taken literally, it means improvement.
Although kaizen is a Japanese concept, many U.S. firms have adopted it with considerable success by combining the best of traditional Japanese practices with the strengths of Western business practice, in other words, by merging the benefits of teamwork with the creativity of the individual. Some refer to its implementation in the West as lean manufacturing since, when combined with the principles of just-in-time (JIT), kaizen or continuous improvement forms the foundation for the concept of lean manufacturing.
HISTORY OF CONTINUOUS
Following the defeat of Japan in World War II, America wanted to encourage the nation to rebuild. As with the Marshall Plan in Europe, General MacArthur asked a number of leading experts from the U.S. to visit Japan and advise them on how to proceed with the rebuilding process. As history would have it, one of these experts was Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Deming was a statistician with experience in census work, so he came to Japan to set up a census. While in Japan, he noticed some of the difficulties being experienced by some of the