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History of Kaizen

The history of Kaizen was in till the 1930s. The founder of Toyota Mr. Sakichi Toyota tell his Co-worker “ Open the window- It’s a big world out there” when Toyota manufactured automatic looms. Leading to the development of the “Toyota Production System” Toyota implemented Quality Circle in 1950. Toyota production system is known as a system of continuous improvement in quality, technology, processes, company culture, productivity, safety, and leadership. This small word of continual improvement “Kaizen” gives major benefits that result in faster delivery, Reduces cost of production, and high customer satisfaction.

The western world Japanese term Kaizen was introduced by Mr. Masaaki Imai with the help of his book. “Kaizen” the key to Japan’s competitive success. In 1997 book named ‘Gemba kaizen’ introduced kaizen by Mr. Masaaki Imai. A concept of rearranged the shop floor to bringing about continual improvement in an organization which helps to reduces the time & cost of production.  Although improvements under kaizen are small and incremental, the kaizen process brings about dramatic results over the period. The kaizen concept explains why companies cannot remain stable for long in Japan. Meanwhile, western management has done major changes in the technological and management of concept or production techniques which was more popular and real attention-getter. On the other hand, Kaizen is often undramatic and subtle. The kaizen process, based on common ideas and low-cost solutions, ensures slow but cumulative progress that pays off in the long run. Kaizen is also a low-risk approach.

What is Kaizen?

The word Kaizen in Japanese is written with two kanji characters meaning “to  change” and “for the better.” From 1644 to 1911, in China, the word Kaizen is Chinese in origin and has popular as far back as the ‘Qing dynastic period’. The term “Kaizen” has always meant improvement, although it was not used exactly in the specific sense we use it today in lean manufacturing, business, or process improvement.

In the early part of the 20th century, the term Kaizen become popular started to appear in published Japanese works. Kaizen was used as a technical term in books and did not cross over into the modern spoken vernacular. The industrial engineering movement in the United States and other countries made methods-based improvement a priority starting around the early 20th century.

The term rationalization was often applied to early structural improvements in manufacturing used internally at Toyota. The term Kaizen started to spread inside the company in the 1950s and 1960s as an ongoing part of the Toyota Production System (TPS) development. Developing people from all levels of employees who could analyze work methods and make improvements (i.e., creativity before capital) was a large priority. The “Kaizen course” on which is modeled was born in the Education Department of Toyota and rolled out as training for many decades.  However, in a broad sense, we can identify some of the main imprints on the development of the concept of Kaizen inside Toyota and the methods used to develop skill and ultimately improve process performance

Types of Kaizen?

There are various types of Kaizen. The term “Point Kaizen” or “Kaizen Event” of “Kaizen Training” are well-known types of kaizen. We are familiar with them, as most companies have tried Kaizen or something Lean related at some point in its existence. But, the question always arises why we use “Point”? or why we use the term “Event”?  in kaizen

Believe it or not, the term “Point” as in “Point Kaizen” has significance. Also, the condition Before Kaizen and After Kaizen have meaning. In any case, there are serious feelings involved when facilitating a Kaizen event in the organization.

The term “Point” illustrates the approach to Kaizen, as well as what might be described as a Lean Maturity. I don’t personally like the term “Lean Maturity”, but it’s descriptive when taken in context.

Point Kaizen

“Point Kaizen” is always related to the individual process in an organization or a department of the organization. The principles of lean manufacturing are applied as an activity of continual improvement. The area in which the lean principle is applied is unrelated and separate where the word “Point” is expressive. for example, Lean may be applied in any department like marketing and finance department. Till these departments are not related to each other.

Line Kaizen

“Line Kaizen” is the next step in an organization’s lean manufacturing system. Refers to an organization promoted to lean from Point to Discrete is known as “Line”. For example, Kaizen maybe appeals to one process i.e. point as well as the further process. Those points of one process and followed by another process is known as Line Kaizen.

For example, Lean implemented in the supply chain as well as in the planning department. In this situation planning is the next process after supply chain, and kaizen implemented in both different point is called as a “Line Kaizen”

Plain Kaizen

The next step of maturity would be applied in no lines (Processes) is known as “Plane kaizen”. This may be popular as a value stream in the modern term, where the company is organized as per product families and value stream instead of individual or so-called traditional department.

Cube Kaizen

In “Cube Kaizen” the no of processes(Points) are connected as well as each process (Point) interconnected with any processes. This situation would you found in the organization where the lean concept has been implemented in all departments and the maturity of the whole organization is on the higher side. The “Cube Kaizen” concept explained in the diagram.

Many companies started with  Point Kaizen, but as one goes up the maturity continuum, there are fewer and fewer companies as you go from Point Kaizen to Line Kaizen to Plane Kaizen to Cube Kaizen.

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How to Implement Kaizen?

Kaizen is the DNA of Toyota, which is improving business operations continuously and always driving for innovation and evolution. “Kaizen” an important pillar of the Toyota way (the learning organization/education and training), which is based on two important pillars or key factors of The Toyota Way as follows:

Continuous improvement: Continuous Improvement contains

Challenge: It means forming a long-term vision, and meeting challenges with courage and creativity to realize dreams.

Kaizen: It means continuously improving business operations, and always driving for innovation and evolution.

Genchi Genbutsu: It means going to the source to and the facts to make correct decisions, build consensus, and achieve goals quickly and efficiently.

Respect for people: Respect for People contains

Respect: It means respecting others (including all shareholders and colleagues) by making every effort to understand each other, taking responsibility, and doing the best to build mutual trust, mutual responsibility, and sincere, effective, communication.

Teamwork: It refers to stimulating personal and professional growth, sharing the opportunities for development, and maximizing individual and team performance. It includes a commitment to education and personal development, respect for the individual, and realizing consolidated power as a team. The Toyota Way has been successfully applied in many dealerships and many companies other than Toyota. The results and benefits of applying The Toyota Way are summarized as follows:

For the customer:

Cost reduction through reducing waste and whilst providing better vehicle quality and competitive pricing for customers.

For the dealer: Improving production and efficiency through Kaizen implementation in daily operations. Empowering employees who can identify problems and applying Kaizen actions immediately.

Toyota Philosophy popular as Kaizen is the foundation of any business management or system for any organization. The objectives of Kaizen and the Kaizen Division are summarized as follows:

  • Continuous improvement for the organization. er, space, equipment,
  • Continuous improvement for the organization.
  • Cost reduction and cost optimization to save manpower, space, equipment, material.
  • Continuous training and education for the employees of the organization and their involvement in Kaizen activities
  • Increased productivity of the employees in the organization.

Kaizen Tools and Implementation

Kaizen improvement and implementation is based on the use of the following important principles and tools:

  • The Observing all working process then differentiating and sorting the value-added and non-value-added work activities.
  • Applying the principles of motion study. It will be achieved by using the pull production system not the push system.
  • Applying the principles of material handling and the use of one-piece fl It will be achieved by using the pull production system not the push system
  • The Documentation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).
  • The 5S principle for workplace organization which is the concept of good housekeeping. It is a practical concept that means to realize the smoothest flow and synchronization in processes. 5S is the key point in the workplace to help the work easily, quickly, correctly, and safely.
  • Visual management through visual displays that everyone in the organization can use and check for better communications.
  • Genchi Genbutsu and management from the source (Genba): Genchi Genbutsu (local goods) is a key factor of Thee Toyota Way. The first 2 Kanji, local (Inch in hiragana), means the source while the second two Kanji, Actual thing, mean actual products. Hence, Genchi Genbutsu means going to the source place to observe and find facts, determining what is going on, and making correct decisions. Because at the Genba (source) there is evidence (images, atmosphere, and hidden facts) that cannot be extracted from data alone, Mr. Toyoda maintained that it is better to ask the product, not the people. As a result, it is possible to gather the facts, quickly build consensus, implement a decision, and achieve timely improvements. In summary, Genchi Genbutsu can be best described by “seeing is better than hearing”
    • When an abnormal case occurs, go to Genba first
    • The Check with Gembatsu (machine, material, failures, rejects, unsafe conditions, etc.)
    • Take temporary countermeasures on the spot.
    • The Remove root causes.
    • Standardize to prevent trouble.

Genchi Genbutsu is the first step to rejuvenate TOYOTA and is applied throughout the company. Some important words on Genchi Genbutsu published in the Toyota Way 2001 can help to understand this principle as follows:

A full understanding of situations and problems requires extensive study and the gathering of all relevant quantitative and qualitative facts. Taiichi Ohno stressed the importance of collecting ‘facts from the source’ while Kiichiro Toyoda identified ‘hands-on experience’.

  • The Toyota Production System (TPS) including the elimination of Muda:
  • The Poka-yoke to prevent or detect errors (Rework). The essence of poka-yoke is to design the process so that mistakes are either impossible or are easily detected and corrected.
  • Hoshin Kanri (Policy Management): the first Kanji, Person, that is HO in Romaji means direction; the second Kanji, needle, that is SHIN in Romaji means to focus or needle, the third Kanji, tube, that is KAN in Romaji means control while the last kanji, Management, that is RI in Romaji means logic. Hence, Hoshin Kanri is the managing and steering of any organization in a clear direction. Hoshin Kanri is an action to establish a framework to maximize output.
  • The principle of Do it the right way : (Fix-it Right, Fix-it Fast, and Fix-it Once). In other words, no incomplete or defective job should be passed and responsibility should be taken to ensure this. Katsutada Masumoto regarded ‘Fix-it Right the first time’ as the root of all Toyota service activities.
  • When facing a problem or even a mistake, there is a principle to grasp problems, analyze the root causes, and then follow the problem-solving process. Therefore, to prevent problems, the following steps should be considered
    • Be sure to follow the standard operation and instruction (work procedure and work sequence).
    • Carry out the work completely and correctly.
    • Do a perfect job.
    • Concentrate on the work
    • Make sure to ‘STOP’ ‘CALL’ and ‘WAIT’ in case of an emergency.

The problem analysis and the problem-solving process can be summarized as follows:

Most firms actively engaged in continuous improvement train their work teams to use the plan do check act cycle for problem-solving. Another name for this approach is the Deming Wheel, which lies at the heart of the continuous improvement philosophy. The cycle comprises the following steps:

Plan: The team selects a process (activity, method, machine, or policy, for example) that needs improvement. The team then documents the selected process usually by analyzing data, setting qualitative goals for improvement, and discussing various ways to achieve the goals. After assessing the benefits and costs of the alternatives for implementation, the team develops a plan with target measures for improvement.

Do:  The plan implemented by the team and the progress of the plan monitor at regular intervals. Data is collected continuously To measure the improvements in the process data is monitored regularly. Any changes in the process need to be documented, and further revisions are made as per requirement.

Check: The team analyzes the data collected during the ‘Do’ step to find how closely they correspond to the goals outlined in the ‘Plan’ step. If the major difference observed, the team may have to reevaluate the plan or stop the project.

Act: The team documents the revised process if the results are successful so that it becomes the standard procedure for all who may use it. The instruction is given to the employees for the revision in the process.

           Problem-solving projects often focus on those operations that do not add value to the product or service. Value is added during operations, such as machining a part of serving a customer. Inspection of parts is a non-value-added activity for quality defects or routing requests for loan approvals to several different departments. If the idea of continuous improvement that does not add value is not useful and should be reduced or eliminated.

           Some words on Genchi Genbutsu published in The Toyota Way 2001 on identifying problems and analyzing root causes can be elucidated as follows: Problems arising from variances between goals and current situations are explored until their root causes are found through the first-hand investigation. Studies are commended early; the widest range of options is considered in designing countermeasures. Taiichi Ohno’s approach is to observe the production floor without preconceptions and with a blank mind, thinking ‘why’ five times to every problem, especially where the root cause lies hidden beyond the source. Sakichi Toyoda reinforces this with the belief that “there is no fixed model for making decisions. The key is to study the problem thoroughly and to decide on what is believed best”.

  • Toyota Business Practices (TBP). It is an action to practice The Toyota Way then to realize continuous achievements efficiently for all positions or functions and to enhance quality to make company growth in the mid to long term. TBP consists of eight steps of concrete actions and processes summarized as follows:
    • Clarifying the problem.
    • Breaking the problem down.n
    • Setting a target.
    • Analyzing the root cause.
    • Developing countermeasures.
    • Seeing countermeasures through.
  • Monitoring and evaluating both process and results.
  • Standardizing successful processes. And these actions above can be driven and achieved by dedication to the following principles:
    • Customer-first
    • Always validate the purpose of the work.
    • Ownership and responsibility.
    • Judgment based on facts.
    • Thinking and acting persistently.
    • Speedy action in a timely.
    • Following each process with honesty and commitment.
    • Thorough communication.
    • Involvement of all stakeholders.
  • kaizen implementation, which includes problem-solving, communication skills, and conflict resolution. Kaizen depends mostly on a culture that encourages suggestions by employees who constantly try to improve their job skills and process.
  • The Kaizen Idea or suggestion from employees who are constantly involved in the process. “Thinking outside the box” can help in generating new ideas for improvements. In general, people have a lot of suggestions and ideas. The key point is to encourage employees to believe that submitting their ideas can make a difference, ‘Making tomorrow better than today’ [ALJ Slogan]. Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) successfully involves all staff from top to bottom in the Kaizen process, and as a result, they give incredible ideas. Such a process also empowers employee commitment and thinking of belonging to the company, which is crucial for increasing their motivation. The TOYOTA Creative Suggestion System produces about 1,000,000 ideas per year with a principle of ‘Good thinking, Good Products’. Other companies, such as Dell Computer Company, have fully adopted a similar approach. As Taiichi Ohno directed, “Once you discover the bountiful results of Kaizen improvement, you will never forget the spirit of Kaizen”. Therefore, Kaizen has become an important business culture.
  • Cooperation between and within company departments and effective consensus-building. This could be achieved by the sharing of goals and quantitative objectives, and any variances between goals and performance should be explained thoroughly to avoid misunderstandings. As goals are established through consensus building, the processes to be adopted to reach them are defined as well through the Hoshin Kanri process. In this case, Toyota’s main principle is to seek full consensus with members of all groups, including those from other Toyota organizations. This is in preparedness for practical, effective, and smooth implementation of kaizen without any opposition and difficulty. As per Mr. Eiji Toyoda “Whenever you decide to start something new or modify an existing process, it is necessary to communicate and coordinate among many divisions and departments. I want you to think for the whole company rather than yourself alone, coordinate with other divisions, and lead on, no matter what, to concrete results”

Summary steps of implementation of Kaizen

Step – 1 – Discover the improvement potential

In this step of kaizen implementation, the scope of improvements needs to be identified. It could be increased in productivity, Quality, or may be taken from the reason of rejection from past data. It is an important part of kaizen implementation of kaizen. As it may be taken form customer complain, or NC generated by the internal audit team. If your organization is running smoothly even though you can take it as a further improvement.

Step – 2 – Analyse the present method

 In this step of kaizen implementation, you have to analyze the present method in detail. Break down your process in a small group of activity and study each activity and define the value-added & nonvalue-added activities in that process. In this step, you can identify the scope of improvement very easily by studying the process deeply.

Step – 3 – Generate ideas-  suggestion taken

In this step of kaizen implementation, the suggestion needs to be taken from all levels of employees. You can organize brainstorming for the collection of ideas from the group of people. Gemba at the workplace is also an effective method of generating ideas as well as define the scope of improvements. List out all suggestions received from all your sources, sort out the good suggestion out of the list, and prepared the possibility of implementation of the improvements. please note that you have to involve all levels of employees in this step.

Step – 4 – Develop an implementation plan

 In this step kaizen implementation, you have to develop the implementation plan from the step-3. Prepare the team for implementation and give responsibility and authority to team members for implementation. While developing the implementation plan put a deadline for every task of the implementation plan. Divide the plan into small phases.  it is a very important part of kaizen implementation because the time frame needs to be decided for the kaizen implementation plan to achieve an optimum result.

Step – 5 – Implimant the paln

In this step kaizen implementation, Phasewise implementation can be done and monitor regularly. Phase wise tasks can be monitor easily and effectively. It is difficult for the execution of the plan with regular production activity so you can fix the time and manpower easily for the implementation.               

Step – 6 – Evaluate the new method

In this step kaizen implementation, the evaluation of the new method should be done to compare the old methods. The result needs to be monitor after each phase of implementation. After comparison, the result of before and after implementation of kaizen benefits needs to be measured in terms of Qualitative, Quantitative, and monetary.validation of the method needs to be done and then you can change with the existing or old method.

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