Kaizen is a Japanese term that means continuous improvement which was based on the competitive advantage of Japanese companies after World War II. This term is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and is a principle that every individual can apply to their personal, family and laborales.
Kaizen is based on continuous motion, personal effort and the willingness of all members of a group (company) to improve processes. In fact, this is the first major difference between Japanese and Western organizations: Process oriented VS results orientation.
Thus, the efforts of Western companies to increase their competitive advantage based on innovation, which requires large investments and changes in work organization. The Japanese company’s efforts are based on the process and all members of the organization work together to improve them.
Given the scenario caused by the oil crisis of the 70, not hard to understand as Japanese companies without large investments were able to achieve quality standards well above the rest.
The secret lies precisely in the process orientation and the belief that if we improve the processes necessarily improve the final product or put another way: we can achieve quality by improving the quality of processes.
In the next post will elaborate on how to improve these processes in practice.