What is the Kaizen method?

The Kaizen method is a strategy used by companies to help facilitate continuous improvement. The name comes from the Japanese terms Kai, which means change, and zen, which means good. In this case the best translation to English is that it means ‘change for the better.’ This has been a popular system for quite a long time now, and continues to expand into additional businesses. It is most popular in industries like manufacturing, warehousing, and other similar areas. It is also used in just about all other industries though.

Principles of Kaizen

When implementing this philosophy, a good place to start is to learn about the principles of Kaizen. It is generally agreed that there are 10 primary principles of this system. They are as follows:

  • Take an active effort to continuously improve everything.
  • Get rid of old (traditional) concepts.
  • Do not accept any type of excuse to make things happen.
  • When starting new methods do not assume that they will work.
  • Anytime something wrong is identified, fix it right away.
  • Give everyone the power to take an active role in problem solving.
  • Gather additional information and opinions from a variety of people.
  • Ask ‘why’ 5 times before making any decision so that the root cause of an issue can be discovered.
  • Save money through small improvements. Spend the saved money on further improvements.
  • Always keep in mind that improvement has no limits. Never step working toward improvement.

These principles should be on the mind of everyone in a facility at all times. By turning these principles into an overall culture for the company it will help to push forward all the desired changes. Keep in mind that Kaizen is not something that is implemented until there is a set level of improvement, and then stopped. This principle should be a part of the company culture throughout the facilities future.


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