Have you ever experienced difficulties in reaching your goals? Do you know how the Japanese do it? Have you heard of the Kaizen method? In this article we will talk a lot about this method and how you can apply it.
Kaizen [改善] is a Japanese philosophy and practice that promises to continuously improve your projects, business and even your health. A method that can be applied to any area of your life or work.
With the kaizen method you can increase your productivity and reduce the costs of your projects or companies. The word literally means to change for the better or improvement.
How did the kaizen method come about?
It all started in the second world war, where Japan suffered several economic problems. With the need to renew the industry, companies began to improve together creating kaizen, which is not just a method but a lifestyle, philosophy and culture. One of the most responsible was Professor Masaaki Imai.
Kaizen involves exactly all employees of the company, where everything is designed to improve productivity. Kaizen works extensively to recognize and eliminate any waste that exists in the company, prioritizing time as a major advantage against competition.
The results of this method are very visible, where the Japanese went from zero to the third largest economy in the world. When it comes to organization, productivity, work environment, dedication and practices, no one beats the Japanese.
What exactly is Kaizen for?
The concept and its origin is very industrial, but basically the aim of kaizen is to reduce costs and increase productivity. This method can also help to improve quality, increase customer satisfaction, generate more safety and reduce waste. Masaaki Imai, says that collective work must prevail over the individual, one of the great keys for kaizen.
This method can also help to improve quality, increase customer satisfaction, generate more safety and reduce waste. Masaaki Imai, says that collective work must prevail over the individual, one of the great keys for kaizen.
Other benefits involve a good relationship between company employees, better communication and morale among everyone involved, from customers to employees. The application of the kaizen method can be used not only in companies but in all areas of life. We can see Japan’s progress thanks to the culture of kaizen.
Perhaps if all Brazilians followed the kaizen culture, the country could be much more advanced in economics, health, security, education and morals. This method involves uniting and also prioritizing people over yourself. Something that is widespread in Japanese culture. Kaizen will improve your life, be it personal, family, social or at work.
Kaizen principles and concepts
In kaizen it is always possible to do the best. There will always be ways to improve the company or individual. The sentences below represent some thoughts of this philosophy:
- Today better than yesterday, tomorrow better than today!
- Improving is not expensive;
- Changes happen anywhere;
- Be transparent in what you do;
- Pay attention to where things really happen;
- Build product quality first;
- Don’t get stuck in the past;
- Don’t be negative;
- Do not pursue perfection;
- Do not leave for tomorrow what can be done today;
These phrases are basic principles that one should keep in mind when applying kaizen. Several Japanese proverbs and sayings also reflect this culture. Of course, kaizen goes far beyond all of this, so much so that there are gigantic books and complete courses that teach the method. There are still many things to talk about, like the 5s.
The 5s are concepts that work as the basis:
- Seiton: sense of organization of the material necessary for the production of something.
- Shitsuke: refers to discipline, determination, honor and uprightness of character.
- Seiri: concept that implies the distinction between necessary and unnecessary things.
- Seiso: connected with cleaning.
- Seiketsu: concept related to hygiene.
This subject is so complex and simple at the same time that I don’t even know what to write about. You need to research thoroughly how to apply the method in your life. In summary, the improvement process can work as follows:
- Identify the opportunity;
- Analyze the process;
- Develop an ideal solution;
- Implement the solution;
- Study the results;
- Standardize the solution;