The focus of kaizen is quality, cost, and delivery. To accomplish improvements in those areas there are a few activities that should take place on a daily basis. Some of those activities are quality and safety management, cost and logistics management, and processes, products, and materials follow-up. Other daily activities are the major Kaizen activities or pillars which are standardization, 5S, and waste elimination.
Kaizen or continuous improvement is a people’s based system. It only works when there is active participation from the employees. If you forget that the people are the heart of the lean-continuous improvement system, all efforts to implement kaizen as part of the culture will be in vain.
The activities mentioned in the first paragraph will be successful only if the company has a solid foundation of employee involvement elements or systems. Those are teamwork, self-discipline, improvement suggestions, morale enhancement, and quality circles.
Respect is one of the most important principles of lean. One way to show respect is by taking the time to develop the team’s skills. They deserve to have learning opportunities to learn and practice. Kaizen focuses on hands-on activities rather than classroom instruction. In other words, it is an exercise of learning by doing. Continuous improvement uses a team approach, with people from different departments and organizational levels working together towards a common goal. While working together, they learn new skills and acquire self-discipline together. They also get to know each other as people, gaining an understanding of their differences, and building upon them.
These type of activities increases collaboration, engagement, and morale. When learning and coaching are based on respect and genuine desire to develop the team skills to increase their knowledge and empower them with some decisions, the base or foundation for continuous improvement is solid. Employee involvement activities are critical to achieving improvement goals in the areas of quality, cost, and delivery.