Imagine you hit pause on your business operations right now. Would your team be able to readily identify room for improvement, develop a viable solution, and implement it before your very eyes?
No, it’s not a pipe dream. It’s the Kaizen Way; businesses that follow this methodology are able to achieve the aforementioned scenario again and again to generate visible results.
Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Here’s how to improve with the Kaizen Way and become a master of productivity.
Continuous improvement lies at the heart of the Kaizen methodology and what makes it different from your usual self-improvement methods is that it focuses on sustainability. Thus, changes are made in a systematic way and integrated into the daily operations of a business (or the regular activities of an individual).
Instead of launching a complete and immediate overhaul, the Kaizen methodology centers its approach on small, achievable steps. The steps build upon each other for an overall increase in effectiveness.
The term “Kaizen,” has roots in Sino-Japanese and translates as “change for the better.” The philosophy is most often associated with the Toyota Production System. It is used to facilitate the detection of errors by employees. Employees are encouraged to pinpoint room for improvement in the production process and make suggestions to bring about that improvement.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of the Kaizen philosophy is the flexibility of implementation. Organizations can readily make incremental changes that fit their current operations without having to revamp their processes completely. To implement continuous improvement in your workplace, sign up for NWCPE’s “Learning to Improve- the Kaizen Way” course, scheduled to begin April 1.
The Kaizen methodology isn’t just a way of thinking. It provides real steps to make continuous improvement achievable. These steps are referred to as the phases of the Kaizen cycle. The cycle instructs individuals on how to identify opportunities for improvement as well as develop and implement solutions.
The seven phases are as follows:
- Pinpoint the opportunity for improvement
- Review and analyze the process at hand
- Create the most effective solution
- Put the solution into effect
- Analyze the results
- Regulate and perfect the solution
- Prepare for future steps
The most important step to me? Step 6. Measure backward and then get a little bit better. What did you do last week? How can you improve by just a little bit this week? Food for thought.
Check out my related post: What is a purposeful question?