Kaizen is a Japanese business philosophy comprising two words; Kai means 'change' and zen means 'good' i.e. change for the better or continuous improvement.
Kaizen promotes a mindset that aims to make small changes over time to make a business more efficient, but that doesn't mean things take time. It simply recognizes that small changes today can have a huge impact later on.
Case Study - NOKIA - In 1998, Nokia surpassed Motorola to take the top spot among mobile phone manufacturers worldwide. Nokia reached its peak in 2007 with a 51% global market share for mobile phones.
Why does it fail even after getting 51% global market share?
Had its own operating system, but didn’t update itself for android( open source for app development). Even though the market was moving towards android and smartphones. Still restricted itself to the keypad.
Microsoft bought Nokia in 2004. Still, the venture was not successful as consumers didn’t like the window system on phones.
Smartphones without keypads were also developed. But till then there were other competitors in the market as well.
Lesson to be learned - Updates and changes can be small and gradual but it is very important that they should be on time and on-demand with the market. Knowing consumer demand is very essential.
Increased productivity and efficiency
Increased employee and customer satisfaction
Increased loyalty from employer
Why does a company doesn’t improve or fail?
Due to a fear of failure, maintaining old practices, and refusing to experiment/try new things.
Why changes are necessary although the company is doing good?
Because the market is continuously updating and consumer demand is also changing with time.
Case Study - Samtel Group - India’s largest TV picture tube manufacturer ( Big tie-up with Onida, Videocon, and some Korean companies, BPL) went bankrupt.
Reason - Didn’t update itself as per the market demand. Despite the shift towards LCDs in 2007, they built more plants to make picture tubes.
Lesson to be learned - Maybe you are doing good in the market but that doesn’t mean you will always be on top with the same method without updating yourself.
Sort removes barriers from your work processes, simplifying and easing them by removing unnecessary tools and materials.
Set up order offers a comfortable, well-organized, and clutter-free workspace where workers have easy access to what they need and are aware of where everything is kept. This results in a less stressful workplace.
Eg - Creating a To-do list and prioritizing work in order on the basis of urgency and necessity
Shine - Decluttering/cleaning unnecessary things(on a daily basis)and focusing on targets.
Cleaning includes work surfaces, machines, tools, and storage places.
By eliminating clutter, dust, and other irritants, the Shine phase improves the working environment for staff members as you will be not wasting your time on unnecessary things.
Standardize - By standardizing the first three steps phase, you make the changes and progress from the first three steps more consistent.
Sustain - aims to adhere to the new rules.
Although the 5S sustain phase frequently necessitates training and effective communication, it finally results in staff members feeling at ease with 5S practices.
By implementing 5S, you can not only assist people to become more productive and less stressed, but you can also increase workplace safety and shorten new hire training.
Always ask yourself the 5 Ws
Find the problem
The root cause of the problem
Are changes being made consistently, by everyone, and across all domains?
Analysis of the impact of continuous changes/improvement
What else can be done for improvement
How can every individual add to the improvement
Don’t give excuses. Always ask yourself why??