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Business management: Basic Elements Of The Kaizen Concept

Business management: Basic Elements Of The Kaizen Concept



Kaizen is an endless goal to make everything perfect. Kaizen helps turn a good idea into concrete forms, methods, and technologies and all this for people’s benefit. Even though the kaizen concept was developed in Japan, it has fast become a world-wide effective concept of business management. This concept proved it’s efficiency not just in the merchandize businesses but also in the service business and public organizations.

Here is a list of basic elements of the kaizen concept:

1.    Kaizen and management.
2.    Process over result
3.    Kaizen’s cycles
4.    First of all is quality
5.    Reports using verified information
6.    Consumer’s process

First of all, top management must explain in detail to employees the concept of the changes and the new way of business handling in a company. Then they establish a detailed schedule and start implementing the kaizen concept step by step from top to bottom.

1.    Kaizen and management

There are two main things in the kaizen concept that top management must be responsible for, they are precision of implementation and constant maintenance. Constant maintenance is action to provide and control the available technological, 
organizational and operational standards and support those standards by providing training to the employees and control their utilization. Management is responsible for making sure that everybody follows standard operating procedure (SOP).

Implementation is every event that leads to improving existing standards. So management’s main responsibilities are support and to improve standards.


Business management: Basic Elements Of The Kaizen Concept
Business management: Basic Elements Of The Kaizen Concept

Kaizen is small improvements as a result of constant efforts. Kaizen also assumes fast improvement based on investments in new technologies and equipment. If the money is the key factor to you, then implementation process will slow down and because of that it will be more expensive.

The Kaizen strategy is based on human efforts, morals, communication, training, command work, involving and self-discipline – a sensible and not expensive approach to perfection.

2.    Process over result

Kaizen puts to the main corner of people the mentality of thinking focused on process. Because to improve results you need improve the business process first. The problems with the final results indicate that there are problems with the process. Management must find those problems and correct them. Kaizen concentrates on human efforts while in many companies management concentrates on the final result.


Business management: Basic Elements Of The Kaizen Concept
Business management: Basic Elements Of The Kaizen Concept

The approach focused on process should be used also during the implementation of kaizen’s various cycles. Here are some of those cycles: PDCI – (plan- do – check – influence); SDCI - (standardize-do-check- influence); ECQ - (everybody’s control of quality); EOT - (exactly on time); ECE - (everybody’s care of equipment);

Some companies didn’t get positive result because they ignored some of the cycles in the process. The most critical element in the kaizen process is top management involvement.
Their constant and active involvement is important for success.

3.    Kaizen’s cycles

The first thing that is necessary to do in the kaizen process is implementing the PDCI cycle (plan- do – check – influence). The PDCI is a mechanism that makes the kaizen process continuously go until the company’s standards are accomplished. This is the most important moment in the process.

Plan - Planning assumes that goals to become better are established. Kaizen is a style of living that shows why the goals are very important.

Do – the implementation of the plans.

Check – see the result of the plan’s implementation and made it business better.

Influence - concern for structure and standardization in new procedures that prevents the problems and difficulties that the business had before. Also standards establish rules to achieve better results.  The PDCI cycle repeats on a higher level right after the process is improved and there is some positive result.

The SDCI (standardize-do-check- influence) cycle turns into an object of further perfection. SDCI implementation means that the company is never satisfied with the existing condition.

Workers most of the time prefer to leave thing as is and often don’t want to make things better. Management must make them more forward and stimulate them.


Business management: Basic Elements Of The Kaizen Concept
Business management: Basic Elements Of The Kaizen Concept

Any new working process is unstable in the beginning. So before you start to implement the PDCI cycle the process must be stabilized with the SDCI cycle.

Every time in the business process when something goes wrong, you have to ask yourself: “Did that happen because we didn’t have a standard for that?”, “Did it happen because we did not follow the standard?” or, “Did this happen because the standard is not sufficient?”.  Only after the standard is established and it meets all necessary criteria you can move forward with the PDCI cycle implementation.

The SDCI cycle standardizes and stabilizes the current business processes and then the PDCI cycle makes it better. Both those cycles must be constantly under management’s control.

4.    First of all is quality

One of the tasks from the top of the list (quality, expenses, shipping) is quality. Quality must be always the highest priority.  It doesn’t matter if the prices of the offered materials are very attractive, the business cannot succeed on the market if their product or service is not competitive enough. The logo “Quality – first of all” must be supported first of all by management. 


Business management: Basic Elements Of The Kaizen Concept
Business management: Basic Elements Of The Kaizen Concept

Sometimes when the product or service must be delivery on time or expenses are getting too high, management compromises with quality. With the quality they can sacrifice the viability of entire business.

5.    Report using verified information

Kaizen is a process to solve problems. To understand and solve them, first of all problems need to be defined, put together, and analyzed.  They need to be correctly understood. Trying to solve problems without understanding them, is like living just based on guesses and feelings. 

 
This is not an objective and scientific method.  Data collection about the current situation will help you to understand what is necessary to concentrate on. Business must pay a lot of attention to collecting, checking, and analyzing data.

6.    Consumer’s process

Any business has a chain of processes, and each of them has its own suppliers and consumers. So the material or piece of information that has been received in process “A” gets processed and sent to process “B”, processed there, and sent to process “C”. Every next one is always considered as the consumer’s previous one. 

There are two typefs of theories “every next process is the consumer of the previous one” internal (inside the company) and external (on the market).   

Business management: Basic Elements Of The Kaizen Concept
Business management: Basic Elements Of The Kaizen Concept

The majority of workers in the organization deal only with internal consumers. In the kaizen process there is the obligation: never transfer defective parts or inaccurate information to the next process. In the condition when every employee follows that rule, the external consumer receives a high quality product or service. The ideal situation in a company is when everybody follows this rule.

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