Kaizen can be broken down into many things: keys, principles, foundation elements, etc. Whatever you would like to classify it as, the following list is a compilation of components that make up Kaizen.
- Continuous improvement: The core of Kaizen, continuous improvement should also be at the core of every Kaizen activity and Kaizen event. The idea of continuous improvement is one that must be done on a regular basis and never really has an end goal.
- Teamwork: Kaizen can only be successful when teamwork is emphasized. It is important for companies practicing Kaizen to thoroughly train employees of all levels and departments on how they can be involved in making improvements in their own work or area.
- Quality circles: Quality circles are both crucial to teamwork and Kaizen as a whole. Quality circles are made up of workers and individuals who perform similar job functions. They meet regularly to solve issues related to their work and are a key strategy for Kaizen.
- Standardization: Standardized work is often described as the base of Kaizen. The idea is that once a department or area of a facility has found a best practice from problem solving, that practice gets carried over to other departments and areas.
- Observe for yourself, follow the action: Management involvement is an important principle for Kaizen. Supervisors, managers, and even executives should go and to the actual production line and see the work being done.
- Empowering people: Kaizen is not only about involving people from all levels but empowering them as well. It is best when employees feel comfortable in bringing suggestions to supervisors or management.
These are just a handful of characteristics and components that Kaizen is built upon. There are a number of tools and strategies that fall under the umbrella of Kaizen that are aligned with the principles at the core of Kaizen. Explore these with our Kaizen educational article!