Like in Toyota, the principles of Kaizen can be implemented in nearly every level of a company, from the production line up to management. At the core of Kaizen is the incremental improvements in the manufacturing processes. What sets Kaizen apart however, is the involvement of people form every level of the company. It is important in Kaizen that all workers feel respected, so they are comfortable making suggestions for process improvements.
Managers and supervisors also play a key role in the success of Kaizen. Other ways management can get involved is by helping to maintain and improve standards, provide reasonable goals or targets for improvement, support the changes made by showing evidence of improvement. The main goal of management in Kaizen is support. When standards change, management should make sure everyone is aware of the changes and verify that the changes are documented. Whenever management decides to implement a change, showing data to support it helps facilitate buy-in from others in the organization because people don't feel like management makes decisions on a whim.
Quality circles are an excellent Kaizen tool to get employees from all levels involved. A quality circle is comprised of people in the workplace who perform the same, or similar, functions in their job. They meet regularly and work to discover and solve issues related to their specific role at work.
Kaizen can be used in many other departments than just manufacturing. As Kaizen has developed over the years, the implementation of Kaizen can be used in areas like service and customer care, marketing, logistics, sales, human resources, etc. Employees in these departments can go to management with ideas to improve certain processes in their department.
However you decide to implement Kaizen, it is important that a systematic approach is taken. Having a structured Kaizen program will help to increase the company’s profits, increase quality in the product or service, reduce cost and other forms of waste.