Kaizen or continuous improvement, is a philosophy and follows the plan, do, check and act (PDCA cycle).
The aim is to create a culture where everyone is actively involved in improving the company, both by looking for ways to do this and then implementing the alterations.
Events focused on improving specific areas within a business will reap benefits over time. Applied correctly, kaizen empowers employees to be part of the process of continuous improvement.
Standardised work is used to document the current best practices for a process and is used alongside kaizen. Since the driving concept is continuous improvement, what constitutes best practice is updated regularly.
- Plan - Where is the area that needs improvement?
- Do - Try it out
- Check - Did it work?
- Act - Refine the idea
Typical tools used during a kaizen
- Gemba walk
- Value stream mapping
- Process flow diagrams
- Takt time
- 5S checklist
- Fishbone diagram
- Process load levelling