Kaizen (continuous improvement)

Kaizen is a Japanese continuous improvement strategy that rests on the following principles: good processes bring good results, learn by seeing, speak with data, manage by facts, identify and correct root causes of problems and work as a team. As in lean manufacturing, the objective is to eliminate the seven categories of waste (“muda”).

All employees are encouraged to make recommendations to improve processes. In fact, diversity across employees contributes to more effective waste identification and elimination because of fresh perspectives and alternative ways of thinking.

A typical Kaizen cycle may look like this:

  • Identify waste
  • Analyze the process
  • Develop solution
  • Implement solution
  • Analyze results
  • Standardize practice