Published By: SME
Pages in Print Edition:
Kaizen is a Japanese word made up of two words, “kai” and “zen.” Kai means thinking and zen means good. Together they literally mean continuous improvement. Kaizen events are a way of accelerating improvements to worker productivity, helping management find new ways to gain substantial savings in time, space, and labor output. Worker ideas are encouraged. Frequent, small improvements result in collapsed lead times, dramatic reductions in work-in-process, and reduced scrap and defects, while minimizing the need for capital expenditures. Kaizen events are resource intensive, requiring a team of individuals from the affected area, along with support personnel for its duration. Kaizen events are important because they provide an excellent return on investment of financial and human resources. And, since kaizen never really ends, continued improvements will compound the return. All ideas should be explored, especially those that need little or no investment to succeed.