Let’s start with the basics and understand what this fancy looking term actually means. So Kaizen is basically a Japanese word for “improvement”. In the World of business, Kaizen refers to activities that continuously improve all functions and involve employees across the board be it the CEO or the assembly line worker. It also applies to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain. The main aim of Kaizen is to eliminate waste and take steps towards Lean Manufacturing.
Kaizen was first practiced in Japanese businesses, most notably as part of The Toyota Way. It has since spread throughout the World.
We know you are now interested to know more about ‘The Toyota Way’. So here’s a one liner, Toyota Way is a set of principles and behaviors that underlie the Toyota Motor Corporation’s managerial approach and production system. Toyota first summed up its philosophy, values and manufacturing ideals in 2001, calling it “The Toyota Way 2001”.
In project management texts, you will find Kaizen being referred to as “continuous improvement”. Note that although the concept shows up in Quality Management knowledge area, it is basically a philosophy that guides management and not a method of managing quality.
Check more articles on Quality Management