A Japanese word variously translated as
continuous improvement or
change. It came to prominence in a management context in the
immediate post-World War 2 period. As practiced at Toyota Motors in
Japan, ten Kaizen principles were suggested.
NOto the status quo and assume new methods will work.
It should be noted that Kaizen reflects the traditional Asian respect for order and continuity. This is even more noticeable with the 5 S's (five Japanese words beginning with S), which some Western consultants have chosen to link with the Kaizen principles.
- Japanese Word
- Interpretation in a management context.
- Clean the workplace; everyone should be a cleaner (janitor)
- Establish set routines for maintaining cleanliness
- Set everything in its proper place for quick retrieval and storage
- Throw away all rubbish and unrelated materials in the workplace
- Practice 'Five S' daily - make it a way of life; this also means 'commitment'
Clearly Kaizen and 5S can add considerable value and also bring behavioural
benefits in relatively
steady state environments. However, from the
1970's onwards the increasing pace of change in products, markets and
technology sometimes exposed the inherent limitations of these