What is Kaizen?
Kaizen is a Japanese Word for “continuous improvement”, it is one of the most useful concept of the lean manufacturing. In industries kaizen refers activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from CEO to workers.
Kaizen was first practiced in Japanese businesses after second world war, influenced in part by American business and quality management teachers, and most notably as part of the Toyota Way. It has since spread throughout the world and has been applied to environments outside of business productivity.
The Japanese word kaizen simply means "change for better", with no inherent meaning of either "continuous" or "philosophy" in Japanese dictionaries or in everyday use. The word refers to any improvement, one-time or continuous, large or small, in the same sense as the English word "improvement". However, given the common practice in Japan of labelling industrial or business improvement techniques with the word "kaizen", particularly the practices spearheaded by Toyota, the word "kaizen" in English is typically applied to measures for implementing continuous improvement, especially those with a "Japanese philosophy".
Two kaizen approaches have been distinguished
· Flow kaizen
· Process kaizen
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