The word KAIZEN™ in an operation means different to different people. Some define it as lower operating cost or reduced inventory while others describe it in terms of increased efficiency or better quality or being on time & in full. But the ultimate goal remains same i.e. being operationally fit.
However the biggest fear is the misunderstanding of the word Kaizen. KAIZEN™ has been misunderstood as SMALL CHANGES always. In fact, KAIZEN™ means everyone involved in making improvements everyday and everywhere. While the majority of changes may be small, the greatest impact may be kaizens that are led by senior management as transformational projects, or by cross-functional teams as KAIZEN™ workshops. The best way to apply KAIZEN™ is to gain top management’s commitment first and then involve them in setting up a goal. Once this is done, employees starts focusing on that goal, making changes in their areas, etc. and then again setting up a new goal. At the same time it is very important to set daily work management practices in order to ensure that the improvements done are sustained else there is always a fear of sliding back.
If everything goes right, the best this cycle will yield is a climb up the staircase of continuous improvement step by step.
During this journey of KAIZEN™ or improvement following 10 KAIZEN™ rules should be kept in mind in order to grow your business:
Rule # 1: Discard conventional, fixed ideas
Rule # 2: Think of how to do it, not why it cannot be done
Rule # 3: Do not make excuses, start by questioning current practices.
Rule # 4: Do not seek perfection. Do it right away, even if only for 50% or target
Rule # 5: Correct it right away, if you make a mistake.
Rule # 6: Do not spend money for KAIZEN, use your wisdom.
Rule # 7: Wisdom is brought out when faced with hardship.
Rule # 8: Ask WHY five times and seek out root causes.
Rule # 9: Seek the wisdom of ten people rather than the knowledge of one.
Rule # 10: KAIZEN™ ideas are infinite.