What is the Kaizen method? Improve productivity and life
Kaizen is a Japanese term (改善,) whose literal meaning would be: beneficial change or improvement.
The Kaizen method aims to maximize the production obtained through a constant improvement of the business productive muscle, this is done by locating the inefficient points and solving them.
The method was created in Japan during the 1950s, as an attitude of the Japanese people in favor of the reconstruction of the country after World War II.
The Kaizen method has become a reference model in current marketing. The idea of this method is to create actions to continuously improve business strategies and techniques in search of perfection.
1. The five “S” of the Kaizen method
It is also known as the 5S method, as it takes its name from five Japanese words that begin with that letter: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu and shitsuke. Each one of them represents one of the 5 basic steps that must be observed to implement the Kaizen methodology in any business.
- Seiri (classify). Differentiate between what is useful and what is useless, to leave what is necessary and remove all the elements that are not needed for completing a task.
- Seiton (arrange). Order the useful and decide the location of each object or process, in the same way decide what to do with what is useless.
- Seiso (clean). Clean the work space daily to improve the well-being of workers, reduce accidents and improve the quality of all products.
- Seiketsu (standardize). Pay attention to personal hygiene to avoid dirt and mess. Improving the well-being of the workforce, in turn, will improve their productivity.
- Shitsuke (self discipline). Promote self-discipline and self-control, so that workers turn the Kaizen philosophy into a habit, both at work and at home.
It is very likely that you will find places where they refer to the 5 “S” with its English translation, in that case you will see: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain.
2. The ten principles of the Kaizen philosophy
The Kaizen philosophy is based on 10 fundamental principles, which are:
- You should discard conventional ideas.
- You have to make things happen, thinking about how to do them and not why they can’t be done.
- There must be no excuses or justifications from the past, this leads to questioning past practices and using those that really turned out to be good.
- If something is wrong or a mistake has been made, you should fix it immediately.
- Don’t look for perfection, do it fast.
- Creativity before capital, for this use your wisdom and knowledge.
- Your wisdom increases when you face difficulties, it helps to find solutions.
- Ask yourself “Why” five times to get to the root of the problem.
- The wisdom of many people is more preferable than the knowledge of just one.
- Finally, never stop improving.
3. Benefits of the Kaizen method
Everything we do, we do it for something, to get something; In the Kaizen method this rule remains the same. Among those benefits, we can list:
- Elimination of repetitive and useless processes.
- Productivity increase.
- Increased satisfaction and recognition by workers.
- Promotes talent retention.
- The commitment of workers will be reinforced.
- Improves the competitiveness of the company.
- Customer satisfaction will increase.
- It allows quick resolution of problems and errors.
- Reduces the number of accidents at work.
- It contributes to a better adaptation of processes with technological advances.
- It helps to be prepared for the changes that the market may demand.