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One of the major benefits of Kaizen is the fact that it is continuous and not a time-oriented process. Changes are brought to the organization’s processes within a rational timeline. Kaizen acknowledges emphasis on the possibilities of improvement. This concept helps employees and managers to implement Kaizen in organizations. Because of the advantages of continuous improvement, company owners, managers should consider applying Kaizen in their organization.

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Here are the seven steps to apply Kaizen in any organization:

  • 1st Step: Involve employees for Kaizen

Before proceeding for Kaizen, the first step is to involve the organization’s employees because it will help organizations carry out the project smoothly with employee support. The Kaizen application requires the involvement of employees. They need to be motivated. You need to have a workplace free from the resistance to change. This requires the cooperation of the workforce and interaction between leaders and workforce.

  • 2nd Step: Find and List Problems

In this second step, start with a review of the workplace and involve the workers in the process. The review will help you in finding the problem in the workplace. If these problems are rectified, the organization will be more productive. 

Issues can be in relation to any department, such as marketing department, production department, finance department or any other area where improvements are required. The deliverable of this step is the list of problems. 

Then these problems are shortlisted based on the impact and reasonable overcoming factor of controlling it.  Kaizen is not a one-time thing, but it is a continuous process. However, it is important, to begin with, a small set of problems and then improve on an ongoing basis.

  • 3rd Step: Think and Find Solutions

Managers can formulate creative persons in a team who are capable of. These professionals can focus on problem-solving. They might have to allocate time to search for solutions to the problems; the site is facing. It is always better to have multiple brains instead of one to generate optimum solutions for a given problem.

Do not rush for solutions, allow the team to think deeply with due time and develop some alternative solution on the basis of

  1. Cost,
  2. Time to implement the solution,
  3. Resources involved, and
  4. The impact of the solution.

Based on the above four criteria, the list of solutions can be analyzed out of which the most suitable can selected.

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  • 4th Step: Implement the Solution

Before implementing solutions on a large scale, pilot implementation should be adopted. It proves to be one of the most workable ways to test out a new proposal of a solution particularly in big organizations. They think of creating big changes in organizations, which is not even possible as it will affect the daily processes of organizations.

At this time, the application must be done in an organized manner. If the ideas proposed needs to improve a bit more, then by anyway, manage the team's excitement and establish the workability of idea on the table before applying it in the company.

  • 5th Step: Check the Implementation

It isn’t enough to develop solutions. Effective application of developed solutions is important. There is need to regularly check the effectiveness of implementation through auditing and other forms of assessment. Proper implementation needs to be conducted on the floor level to ensure that the solution can yield right results. Regular audits need to be conducted and the progress needs to be monitored. Checking the results is the main target of kaizen.

  • 6th Step: Standardize the implementation

If the checks do not yield positive outcome, apply alternative ideas initially conceived on the table. This should continue until the most appropriate solution is generated. On the other hand, if the outcomes were positive with improved processes, then the process must be standardized across all sections so that the company operates more efficiently and productively. 

Standardization is the best outcome of implementing Kaizen. Standardization saves time, energy and boosts employee morale, which consequently results in more productivity. Standardization also stands for helping workers by having standard procedures which they need to implement and by avoiding the bureaucracy at a minimal level.

  • 7th Step: Repeat

The core aim of kaizen is “slow and gradual incremental change”. The complete procedure can be repeated again so that another shortlisted idea can be optimized. The repetition of these steps for an extended period of time will enable the alignment of the organization’s culture with the Kaizen culture which is focused on removing waste and enhancing processes so that everything runs efficiently.

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About the Author

Adebayo is a thought leader in continuous process improvement and manufacturing excellence. He is a Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (CSSMBB) Professional and Management Systems Lead Auditor (ISO 9001, 45001, ISO 22000/FSSC 22000 etc.) with strong experience leading various continuous improvement initiative in top manufacturing organizations. 

You can reach him here.

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