From the Japanese Kai (improvement) and Zen (good) KAIZEN is recognized worldwide as an important pillar of an organisation’s long-term competitive strategy.
There are 5 Fundamental KAIZEN Principles that are embedded in every KAIZEN tool and in every KAIZEN behaviour. The 5 principles are: Know your Customer, Let it Flow, Go to Gemba, Empower People and Be Transparent. The implementation of those 5 principles in any organisation is fundamentally important for a successful Continuous Improvement culture.
From an organisational transformation perspective, radical changes or innovations can provide significant improvements in productivity and efficiency, whilst continuous improvements maintain the momentum and further build upon the success and benefits of the initial innovative implementation.
- It recognizes and rewards the efforts of employees and improves teamwork.
- It improves efficiency and reduces waste.
- It builds leadership skills.
- It can be difficult to implement in existing management systems.
- It requires significant training efforts.
- The overall efforts can be compromised if some departments resist adoption.
Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success, Imai Masaaki, 1986, ISBN 9780075543329