KAIZEN™ means change for better or continual improvement, but it is much more than what the words signify. KAIZEN™ is a way of life, an attitude, a spirit, that prevails at all times in an organization. If KAIZEN™ has taken hold in your organization, then you have reached a state where employees and managers alike begin to recognize that part of their job- as important as doing the stipulated work- is learning how to improve the way they do it. In such an organization, everyone keeps implementing improved methods for doing their work.
That is why it is said that KAIZEN™ is for ‘Everyone’ (all employees, managers included), ‘Everyday’ (not like a month end sales promotion...but a way of life) and ‘Everywhere’ (all departments –not restricted to the shop floor).
But to build such organization, it is crucial to have a KAIZEN™ mindset. KAIZEN™ Mindset is Kaizen's Starting Point. It’s the only way to achieve sustainable improvements. Continuous improvement refers to constant improvements of products, processes and services over time, with the goal of improving product performance, customer service and workplace productivity.
Don’t forget, ‘there is always room for improvement, there is always a way to do it better.”
A KAIZEN™ Mind
Such a mind in a very positive way has the following characteristics:
1. Any existing operation/process has a lot of room for improvement. Sensei Masaaki Imai in fact says ”Work under a mindset that the way you are doing anything today is the worst possible way of doing it”.
2. The existing facilities and methods can always be improved by effort.
3. The accumulation of improvements makes a big difference.
4. Imperfect progress is better than postponed perfection. Hence a bias on getting things done.
5. KAIZEN™ does not have an end. After one improvement, keep striving for the next one.