Implementation of kaizen depends on knowing the concepts and planting them into a culture that can allow it to grow. Kaizen is the Japanese term that means “good change”. In the Japanese culture, kaizen is a value that is holistically applied to life where people make good change, or improvement, in themselves and in the things they do, both personally and professionally. In the US, kaizen is most often thought of as process improvement in the workplace.
The materials to learn the concepts of kaizen are readily available. There are many books available for reading that define kaizen terminology, teach the kaizen tools, and include real examples with results from companies that have implemented kaizen in the workplace. Business consultants offer training that include hands on exercises. Related disciplines, such as Lean and Six Sigma, have certifications like Green Belts and Black Belts that include kaizen concepts. Colleges and universities have curriculum that teach kaizen process improvement theories, tools and ideas.
While knowing and understanding the concepts is required to implement kaizen, the environment in which they are to be implemented needs to be considered. The following cultural conditions in a business will enhance successful implementation of kaizen:
Together, kaizen concepts and the ideal cultural conditions will create the right environment for successful implementation of kaizen that will result in good change.
Sherry Tomac is a Project Management Executive and Kaizen Manager at Chartwell Compliance. Sherry provides coaching and training to the Chartwell staff on project management and manages Kaizen activities within the organization.
Sherry has 20 years of experience at Western Union and First Data managing global, cross-functional projects focused on strategic organizational goals such as software rollouts, call center initiatives, and compliance undertakings. Sherry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.