Kaizen is Japanese and means: change (KAI) for the good or for the better (ZEN). In Lean Management, Kaizen has two different meanings. Firstly, it stands for anchoring the philosophy of a continuous improvement process in the minds of staff members, and questioning and optimising oneself and all processes continuously. Secondly, Kaizen is the name for a workshop which is held to deal with a specific area or workplace.
A Kaizen workshop can take from one to five days and targets improvement to an area such as ergonomics, lead time, efficiency or productivity, inventory or order and cleanliness.
The successive improvement of processes
For any solutions developed during the workshop which cannot be implemented immediately, the team establishes a list of to-dos with responsibilities and deadlines. The implementation is recorded and checked for further improvement potential once the targeted actual state has been reached. If the actual state functions satisfactorily, it is defined as a standard and transferred to other workplaces and/or areas which it fits.