The Origin of Kaizen
The word kaizen means “improvement” or “ to change, for the better”
in Japanese. However, the term is used more specifically to refer
to continuously improving and moving forward with small and adaptable changes.
The term Kaizen first adopted there meaning in the world of
of the business class professionals. Ironic, right?. Then, came the methodologies, which completely pertained to them. Toyota , the car manufacturer actually had a very keen interest in this idea.
The strategy has been successfully adapted to business for many organizations, and
later to the self-improvement field. The book Toyota Way explains
the use of Kaizen in detail and has created its uses and practices to be one of a kind, or something out of the ordinary, remarkable.
Then , the self improvement crowd had wanted to know about Kaizen. Kaizen is focusing on the mundane things, all in one turn of events. It is created by changes that add up to bigger and bigger changes. An example of what Kaizen is like, is personal hygiene. You shower every day right? Well, its something that you will want to do over and over again, and I think this is what many self help books correlate the imagery and audio to.
Types of Kaizen
In business, in its original context, Kaizen has been generally
broken down into two separate terms:
• Flow kaizen
• Process kaizen
In flow kaizen, the approach looks at a “value stream.” This might
be a whole work flow, in which the organization can look for
different opportunities to improve the process.
If you imagine a large production line that involves several stages.
While making a tiny change at each step of the way won’t seem to
have a big impact on its own, when taken as a whole, all those
tiny improvements can potentially have a huge result.
Process kaizen on the other hand is the “concentrated
improvement of a single process.” This means that concentration on one step at time , creates longer lasting improvement. Then, once you get it to the point where your working high to low, when you get to the lowest sector, you know you are at the best place you could possibly be. Kaizan has been reached.
Kaizen is often described as being working your way from the bottom up, therefore, you work the harder steps last and the easiest steps first. The most fundamental steps are the beginning steps anyways.