Kaizen (改善) is the Japanese word for "improvement". In business, kaizen refers to activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers. It also applies to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain.It has been applied in healthcare, psychotherapy, life-coaching, government, and banking.
The Japanese word kaizen means "change for better", with inherent meaning of either "continuous" or "philosophy" in Japanese dictionaries and in everyday use. The word refers to any improvement, one-time or continuous, large or small, in the same sense as the English word "improvement".
However, given the common practice in Japan of labeling industrial or business improvement techniques with the word "kaizen", particularly the practices spearheaded by Toyota, the word "Kaizen" in English is typically applied to measures for implementing continuous improvement, especially those with a "Japanese philosophy". The discussion below focuses on such interpretations of the word, as frequently used in the context of modern management discussions. Two kaizen approaches have been distinguished: Improvement Management system and Improvement Equipment.
Improvement Management system is to change the way operate in all phases of the departments from Planning, Factory, Purchasing, Quality Control, Warehouse ... to Sales and even HR Management ... in the direction of eliminate the causes of waste, improve quality.
And Improvement Equipment is to focus on improving the capacity of machinery and equipment, including the need to equip a new machinery.
And in the spirit of CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT, businesses need to take steps of Improvement Management System and then apply the measures of Improvement Equipment.
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