Japanese term for a gradual approach to ever higher standards in quality enhancement and waste reduction, through small but continual improvements involving everyone from the chief executive to the lowest level workers. Popularized by Mosaki Imai in his books 'Kaizen: The Key To Japan's competitive Success.'
Kaizen (改善?), Japanese for "improvement" or "change for the better", refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, supporting business processes, and management. It has been applied in healthcare, psychotherapy, life-coaching, government, banking, and many other industries. When used in the business sense and applied to the workplace, kaizen refers to activities that continually improve all functions, and involves all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers. It also applies to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain. By improving standardized activities and processes, kaizen aims to eliminate waste (see lean manufacturing). Kaizen was first implemented in several Japanese businesses after the Second World War, influenced in part by American business and quality management teachers who visited the country. It has since spread throughout the world and is now being implemented in many other venues besides just business and productivity.
After World War II, to help restore Japan, American occupation forces brought in American experts to help with the rebuilding of Japanese industry. The Civil Communications Section (CCS) developed a Management Training Program that taught statistical control methods as part of the overall material. This course was developed and taught by Homer Sarasohn and Charles Protzman in 1949 and 1950. Sarasohn recommended W. Edwards Deming for further training in Statistical Methods. The Economic and Scientific Section (ESS) group was also tasked with improving Japanese management skills and Edgar McVoy is instrumental in bringing Lowell Mellen to Japan to properly install the Training Within Industry (TWI) programs in 1951. Prior to the arrival of Mellen in 1951, the ESS group had a training film done to introduce the three TWI "J" programs (Job Instruction, Job Methods and Job Relations)- the film was titled "Improvement in 4 Steps" (Kaizen eno Yon Dankai). This is the original introduction of "Kaizen" to Japan. For the pioneering, introducing, and implementing Kaizen in Japan, the Emperor of Japan awarded the Second Order Medal of the Sacred Treasure to Dr. Deming in 1960. Consequently, the Union of Japanese Science and Engineering (JUSE) instituted the annual Deming Prizes for achievements in quality and dependability of products in Japan. On October 18, 1989, JUSE awarded the Deming Prize to Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), based in the United States, for its exceptional accomplishments in its process and quality control management. FPL was "the first company outside of Japan to win the Deming Prize." Implementation
The Toyota Production System is known for kaizen, where all line personnel are expected to stop their moving production line in case of any abnormality and, along with their supervisor, suggest an improvement to resolve the abnormality which may initiate a kaizen. [pic]
The PDCA cycles
The cycle of kaizen activity can be defined as:
• Standardize an operation
• Measure the standardized operation (find cycle time and amount of in-process inventory) • Gauge measurements against requirements
• Innovate to meet requirements and increase productivity • Standardize the new, improved operations
• Continue cycle ad infinitum
This is also known as the Shewhart cycle, Deming cycle, or PDCA. Masaaki Imai made the term famous in his book Kaizen: The Key to Japan's Competitive Success. Apart from business applications of the method, both...
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