The Kaizen Method, find out all about it and discover how to use it.
Kaizen is not the name of a Japanese heavy metal band. Kaizen is a philosophy of life, a way of understanding life that can bring interesting features to the business world.
Kaizen comes from Japan, and it reached its peak when it was used in the industry after the Second World War. As you probably know – only if you lived on planet Earth during the last years – the Japanese nation was defeated in this fight, so it turned into a state of poverty during the following years. Because it was a small country for its population and also because it does not have a great amount of natural resources, in order to move forward, it was necessary to go a step further and to apply the Japanese traditional philosophy to overcome obstacles to the productive process.
The term “Kaizen” would be translated as “change for the better” or “improvement.” It is made up of the voices “Kai”, or “change” and “zen”, or “good.”
Traditionally used in the production processes and quality management,
Kaizen, however, can be applied to all areas of the company. An essential element of Kaizen is time. Time is such an important thing in the business world that it is barely noticed. Every day is a new opportunity to keep improving. Every unnecessary action should be removed.
In Kaizen, a product or service has never reached its final state; these will always be susceptible to improvement. Self-indulgence is an enemy that must be destroyed.
As we said earlier, the Kaizen Method is not only focused on the productive process. By contrast, it pretends to be an improvement in general and for every aspect of the company. Thus, the Kaizen Method wants to:
- Improve the quality of the product and the production process.
- Improve customer service.
- Reduce time and energy consumption.
- Reduce disease and occupational hazard of workers.
- Improve working conditions, morale and motivation of employees.
To achieve this, there are multiple elements to consider; leadership, well-defined objectives, self-criticism, teamwork, innovative attitude, training, respect, participation or good communication, among other things.
One of the essential factors of the Kaizen Method is that it not only involves the governing bodies, but also involves every employee. Whatever your job, you should not only try to perform the tasks effectively, but you must try to improve at all times.
The truth is that if we observe the performance of Japanese companies in the following decades after World War II up until today, we could say that Kaizen is a complete success. Don’t you think that it might be interesting to apply some of the Kaizen principles to your business?
Before doing this, you have to take into account something of great importance. In order for the Kaizen Method to work, it is necessary to free the worker from fear. The employee should not be afraid to communicate those improvements that can be implemented. If something does not work, it’s not his or her fault; problems are part of the business, and must be solved.
In order to implement the Kaizen philosophy in a company, it is good to have good tools to improve internal communication. This is very important, if every worker within the company thinks about how to improve it, their ideas will need to reach the people who have the power to implement these changes. Otherwise, no matter how good the attitude and the ideas are, they will be lost along the way.
Do you have great tools to achieve this?
No, by tools we don’t mean a paper stuck to the wall and a marker hanging around from a rope next to it, this is not the best way to do it. Other utilities, such as e-mail, can be a way to do something more “advanced”, but often will not be enough, and will be chaotic, and a lot of time will be wasted (and you know that according to the Kaizen Method, time is money).
There are much better tools, such as ticket management systems. Although incident management systems are often used for customer service, for example by helping to resolve incidents that affect the normality of the service, they can also be used to improve the internal communication of the company and favour the circulation of ideas and suggestions which are really important in the Kaizen philosophy.
Do you want to have a look at some examples?
- Imagine that someone that works in the customer service department of your company has come up with an idea to improve a service, following the complaints received by a customer. Instead of writing it down in a sticker and storing it in the suggestion box (that nasty looking tin that no one opens), create a ticket with the idea. From that moment on, the proposal will be available to the people qualified to make changes, so that they can analyse it and take the appropriate measures.
- You have a website for electronic commerce (e-commerce). One of the people in charge of managing the orders has a great idea to improve the structure of the website. He just needs to open a ticket with the suggestion, so that the team of web developers will be in charge of studying the proposal.
- Imagine that you have a company that develops software. One of your support employees detects a bug in the program; he should let the right engineers know so that they can solve it. In order to do this, you just have to open a ticket to communicate the error, and they will get down to work (or at least that is what they should do)
Never stop improving in your company. And now that you know about the relationship of an incident management system with the Kaizen philosophy, do you know Integria IMS?
Integria IMS incorporates, in addition to other very interesting features, a ticket management tool that can help you improve internal communication in your company. If you want to know more about what IMS Integria is, go to https://integriaims.com/
Alberto is one of the translators of Integria IMS. He is also a singer-songwriter and he also can play the guitar and the piano.