How to drive Kaizen Culture in organisations


The requirement of world is changing at a faster pace than what we can imagine. Competition is so fierce in every field. Life cycle of products is reducing at rapid rate.  Car models are constantly being upgraded with new features and new technologies. New variants gets added every other day. Laptops, mobiles … name everything. It is changing for better every day.

Survival of fittest who adapt to changes and who create change.  Change for better. In Japanese, Kaizen is the name for continuous improvements. (Kaizen is trade mark of Kaizen institute).  We need to constantly shift our paradigms on how to do things. How to manufacture things better, how to deliver better with minimal waste and high value.

Some of the businesses who did not anticipate the changing needs were left behind or become obsolete.

If continuous improvements are needed, it has to be done on regular basis. It could be every hour or every day or every week as the case may be.  Change can be done by those who are close to Gemba (work place) or those who have access to the real thing or real situation.

Doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results can lead to insanity.

Kaizen is of two types.  Small, incremental improvements done regularly.  Kaizen events which are big improvements with structured planning and done with involvement of all key stakeholders of the area which needs improvement.

One of the best practice to evaluate employee involvement is based on the measure of how much extent they are contributing to continuous improvement  in the workplace.

To make continuous improvement culture effective in organisation, it is necessary for the organisation to train the employees towards right culture by providing necessary support and trainings.

Prerequisite for improving some thing is to have a standard defined which can also be referred as Standard Work. Standardized Work is tool which captures the current best practices for a process.  Kaizen is when improving that standard work by finding a better method or process or tool.

Create a training module –General on Kaizen.

Create internal examples of how kaizen is applied – with photos and videos

Conduct Kaizen training to all operators and supervisors – 1 hour module

Ask everyone to list out what can be improved in their respective areas

Get the list of all the kaizens recommended by operators and supervisors

During Gemba Walk, if someone has an idea, they can use a display board to grab attention.

Use Idea tag system.

Have kaizen traceability with numbering done at the point of use. 

Organisations need to keep a very close monitoring on what is happening not only in their specific industry but also beyond their industry segment.

Individuals need to have exposure in best practices in similar industry as well as other industry. can be measured on the number of improvements implemented by an employee in a given period.  Industry benchmark is to get atleast one improvement per person per week.

Have weekly kaizen drive

Create recognition  method

Recognize people every month based on criteria

Gemba Walks

Plan Vs actual – Production

Defects –in house

External factory benchmark visits (E.g. TVS, Honda, Bosch etc.,)

7 Wastes – Focussed workshop

Inter factory visit for kaizens

Continuous improvement  is one of the element of Lean manufacturingTotal Quality Management (TQM) and Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

Seven Steps Business transformation helps in deployment of continuous improvement culture in organisations through their flagship training programmes conducted through Seven Steps Academy of Excellence.


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