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There is always room for improvement, no matter how small. Kaizen is a philosophy, a mindset, and a set of tools and techniques for continuous improvement. It is a concept involving everyone – CEO, leadership, management, assembly operators, shop floor workers, etc.—working together to make small incremental process improvements.

As a foundational block for the Toyota Production System, Kaizen has been instrumental in the success of TPS and the development of Lean manufacturing. The name comes from two Japanese words translating to mean “change for the better” or “continuous improvement.” So, what does Kaizen look like in practice?

  • Kaizen Events: Whether or not your facility is adopting the daily practice of continuous improvement, Kaizen events can be extremely beneficial. These are single, coordinated events tackling one issue or project at a time.
  • Plan-Do-Check-Act: The PDCA cycle is a tool used to facilitate continuous improvement. PDCA cycles can be used to improve standard work processes during a kaizen event, after a Gemba walk, or just on a daily basis.
  • Quality Circles: Quality circles are small teams of people who work the same or similar jobs. These teams meet periodically throughout the year to discuss any issues they’ve experienced, improvement strategies, and more. Together, the team works to find solutions, implement them, and improve upon them.

At Creative Safety Supply, we are here to help put your facility on the path to efficiency. Below we have gathered our comprehensive Kaizen and Lean resources for all experience levels. Explore our expert advice and learn more about the continuous improvement philosophy that has revolutionized manufacturing

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Kaizen Articles

Understanding the Principles of Lean Construction

Understanding the Principles of Lean Construction

When Lean techniques are incorporated into traditional methods of construction, a project is completed more efficiently. These are the main principles behind Lean Construction.

Understanding the SIPOC Diagram in Six Sigma

Understanding the SIPOC Diagram in Six Sigma

Creating a SIPOC diagram to determine the Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers of an operation can help businesses achieve improvement and ensure Six Sigma success.

Quality, Health, Safety, Environment (QHSE) Management Systems

Quality, Health, Safety, Environment (QHSE) Management Systems

Quality, Health, Safety, Environment (QHSE) management systems help businesses achieve three main objectives: enhanced quality, worker safety, and environmental sustainability.

Understanding Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)

Understanding Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)

DFSS is an improvement technique that uses the DMADV approach to ensure that a product or service meets customer expectations as it is originally introduced to the market.

Supply Chain Management (SCM)

Supply Chain Management (SCM)

A smooth and efficient supply chain ensures quality products, customer satisfaction, and a positive reputation. These are the essential components to effective supply chain management.

Kaizen and Lean Manufacturing

Kaizen and Lean Manufacturing

Going “Lean” is all about continuous improvement. Kaizen gives Lean manufacturers the tools and strategies they need to identify wastes in their facility and effectively eliminate them.

A Brief History of Kaizen: The Key Players

A Brief History of Kaizen: The Key Players

Kaizen has been shaped over the years by an automobile manufacturer, American statisticians, influential businessmen, and more. We explore who had a hand in creating Kaizen and how it has developed into the philosophy we know today.

An In-Depth History of the Kaizen PDCA Cycle

An In-Depth History of the Kaizen PDCA Cycle

Lean organizations focus on improving all parts of a process from start to finish in order to increase the quality of the results. Through the use of specific cycles (like PDCA), organizations can improve the processes and end products.

Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001:2015)

Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001:2015)

ISO 9001: 2015 is a standard that outlines and defines requirements for a quality management systems. This QMS certification allows companies to demonstrate to clients that they take quality and efficiency seriously.

DMAIC Cycle

DMAIC Cycle

The DMAIC cycle is the foundational method of Six Sigma, the Lean manufacturing method that radically reduces defects in production and infinitely improves efficiency. Learn how to implement Six Sigma into your facility with DMAIC.

Quality Control in Manufacturing

Quality Control in Manufacturing

Quality control in manufacturing is essential to maintaining a good customer base and keeping rework costs down.

5S Lean Training

5S Lean Training

If you’re new to the concept of 5S, you’ve probably feel confused. This article aims at providing clarity and setting you on the path toward understanding 5S and Lean.

Barcode Labeling

Barcode Labeling

Barcode labeling can help improve efficiency and overall accuracy when working with individual items. Learn how barcode labeling can help improve your business today.

Six Sigma Certification

Six Sigma Certification

Are you wanting to learn more about Six Sigma certification? Review this basic information on what it takes to become Six Sigma certified.

Critical Path Method

Critical Path Method

The critical path method (CPM) is a tool for planning and managing projects. The method can help you create and execute a project schedule, and it’s designed to maximize efficiency.

Mass Production

Mass Production

Mass production is simply the manufacturing of a large number of identical or very similar products. This type of production has been around for a long time, and it has its advantages and disadvantages.

House of Lean

House of Lean

The house of lean involves strategic planning and understanding to establish results of efficiency, safety, and process improvement.

What is QCDSM?

What is QCDSM?

QCDSM: Quality, Cost, Delivery, Safety and Morale. Learn how this simple lean principle can help your business.

8 Wastes of Lean [A Guide to Manufacturing Wastes]

8 Wastes of Lean [A Guide to Manufacturing Wastes]

The 8 Wastes of Lean is a much-needed update to the what the Toyota Production System called the 7 Wastes of Lean. Fighting these wastes head on will help your facility run more smoothly and efficiently.

Supply Chain Integration

Supply Chain Integration

Supply chain integration refers to the process of integrating all parts of fulfillment into one single system. Learn the steps to get your supply chain integrated into an easy-to-manage system.

Organizational Development Process

Organizational Development Process

Organizational development process is an improvement methodology designed to take known problems and implement changes in order to overcome them.

What is a thermal printer? (direct transfer)

What is a thermal printer? (direct transfer)

Thermal printers are essential to printing in an industrial setting. Learn about the two types of thermal printing to determine which one suits your facility’s needs.

Tool Storage Ideas

Tool Storage Ideas

Lean manufacturing emphasizes organization, but it can be difficult figuring out just how to get started. This article lays out some common and effective ways of getting organized quickly.

What is Jishuken?

What is Jishuken?

Are you a leader looking to understand the benefits of Jishuken? We breakdown the definition of Jishuken and how it can improve efficiency in your workplace.

What is a Kaizen Event? [Planning and Execution]

What is a Kaizen Event? [Planning and Execution]

Learn how to implement a kaizen event and improve your lean manufacturing strategy.

Asset Tags: Tracking Inventory & Equipment

Asset Tags: Tracking Inventory & Equipment

A simple yet powerful organization tool, asset tags reduce theft, enhance inventory management efforts, and make it easier for employees to find exactly what they need exactly when they need it.

Calculating Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

Calculating Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

Are your lean and 5S efforts making a difference? Crunch the numbers on OEE to find out!

Statistical Process Control (SPC) in Manufacturing

Statistical Process Control (SPC) in Manufacturing

Statistical Process Control also known as SPC, is a term used in quality control. Find out how you can use this continuous improvement method.

Quality Circle

Quality Circle

Quality circle is a group of employees within the same job role that collaborate together to discuss ways to fix or improve processes. Learn more ›

The Five Whys (Root Cause Analysis)

The Five Whys (Root Cause Analysis)

Finding the root cause of a problem is imperative in problem solving. The "five whys" will help you find the root cause and prevent future issues.

5 Lean Principles for Process Improvement

5 Lean Principles for Process Improvement

Learning the basics about the lean process is essential when implementing continuous improvement changes. We have broken down the lean process so its easy to understand.

Cross-Docking (Understanding Efficient Warehouses)

Cross-Docking (Understanding Efficient Warehouses)

Cross docking is a logistical strategy where products and materials are unloaded from one inbound sourceand then immediately moved onto outbound transportation with as little storage time as possible.

Continuous Improvement (A Kaizen Model)

Continuous Improvement (A Kaizen Model)

Facilities that focus on continuous improvement become more competitive over time and can maintain their advantages in their industry, but only if the improvement efforts are done correctly.

FOCUS-PDCA

FOCUS-PDCA

FOCUS-PDCA is a business strategy designed to help improve processes. It is an acronym for the steps and actions that need to take place during the process improvement period.

Getting Started with Kaizen

Getting Started with Kaizen

Proper training is key for getting started with Kaizen and on the road to continuous improvement.

Kaizen (Lean Continuous Improvement)

Kaizen (Lean Continuous Improvement)

The concept of Kaizen will help any organization through continuous improvement.


Kaizen Questions and Answers

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… 

What does PDCA mean?

PDCA is an acronym that stands for, ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act.’ In some cases it is said to stand for, ‘Plan, Do, Check, Adjust’ instead. Either way, the concepts are the same and the processes that companies are following will be the same. It is a simple option for helping a business with the goal… 

What is PDCA?

PDCA is a very popular system used for problem solving and process improvement in businesses around the world. It stands for, ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act.’ PDCA is a cyclical system applied in business to keep improving things with the goal of eliminating any type of defects, waste, or other problem. Companies should never settle for ‘good… 

What are quality circles?

A quality circle is a group of workers who do similar types of work and meet regularly to attempt to identify and solve work-related issues. In most cases this is a volunteer group of people who meet during work hours. While each company can have them set up differently, the quality circle will typically be… 

How does Kaizen work?

Kaizen might be performed on a daily basis and goes beyond improving productivity. Employees are encouraged to use scientific methods to improve their own tasks to make things more efficient. Some businesses use daily Kaizen. Some business use Kaizen events. Other businesses use a combination of the two. Daily Kaizen Daily kaizen is something everyone can participate… 

What does Kaizen mean?

The literal definition of the Japanese word Kaizen is “change for the better,” however, over time the definition has transformed to “continuous improvement.” This interpretation has been taken to heart in multiple different business practices like healthcare, life coaching, banking, etc. The focus, however, has centered around the manufacturing world as well as business practices. There… 

Is Kaizen the same as Lean?

Kaizen and Lean are terms often used interchangeably but are in fact two separate entities. Both are different concepts, tools, and strategies used to solve specific problems in different ways. Kaizen and Lean both focus on similar key components. Lean manufacturing is a business model while Kaizen can be defined as a philosophy and a methodology,… 

How does Kaizen reduce waste?

The Kaizen methodology is based on continuous improvement in the facility. Using Kaizen means constantly looking for incremental improvements that will help to improve processes. The end result is often times reducing or eliminating waste. The following are just a few examples that stem from the 8 Wastes of Lean. Defects in the end product:… 

What are Kaizen principles?

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… 

How does Kaizen reduce cost?

Kaizen and continuous improvement work to improve two things: processes and end results. Continuous improvement is focused on making small changes and improvements around the facility that eventually add up to major beneficial changes in the manufacturing process and quality of the product or service. The improvement in these two areas result in a reduction… 

Where can Kaizen be implemented?

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… 

When should Kaizen be used?

Kaizen can either be used to address a single issue or part of the process, or it could be an ongoing practice used on a day-to-day basis. If a company chooses to implement Kaizen as a daily event, it is important to note that it is a daily and continuous strategy and a facility can… 

Is there a difference between Kaizen and continuous improvement?

There is not so much a difference between Kaizen and continuous improvement, but rather continuous improvement is a core principle to the Kaizen methodology and philosophy. Literally translated, Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning improvement. It is important to remember that Kaizen is not a one-time adjustment but rather an ongoing process. Kaizen believes not in… 

What companies use Kaizen?

Many companies successfully use Kaizen and Lean principles to inspire continuous improvement around the facility. Kaizen help companies around the world to cut down on wastes and streamline processes. The most famous Kaizen company is the same company that first implemented its practices: Toyota. Toyota has been using the Kaizen philosophy for decades now and Kaizen… 

What is the difference between 5S and Kaizen?

5S and Kaizen are related in the fact that they are both concepts used in Lean manufacturing and both have the goal to improve processes and reduce wastes and are both derived from Japanese concepts. While 5S and Kaizen have the same end goal, they introduce different strategies to achieve that goal and certain situations… 

What are Kaizen events?

When a business implements Kaizen, there is a choice between implementing daily Kaizen and holding Kaizen events, or a combination of both. It is key to understand the differences between both to choose what may be right for your facility. Kaizen events are scheduled to take place during a specific set amount of time, often… 

How does Kaizen use Gemba?

Gemba, meaning 'the real place,' is an excellent tool for any company or organization using Kaizen. In Kaizen, the phrase “Go to Gemba first” is actually often used. Gemba and Gemba walks are tools for managers and supervisors to go to where the action is or where the process is completed. This can be a… 

How can Kaizen be implemented?

One way Kaizen can be effectively implemented is by training all employees in the workplace. Kaizen can be used in the workplace as a daily practice, practiced in scheduled events, or a combination of both. A key element to Kaizen is involvement of all. Implementing Kaizen should not be kept solely between managers and supervisors,… 

Who created Kaizen?

One person or company did not create Kaizen, but rather multiple experts collaborated and created tools that would eventually evolve to what we know as Kaizen. W. Edwards Deming, an American management consultant and statistician, built upon Walter A. Shewhart’s concepts of statistical process controls to develop management concepts with cycles and the idea of… 

How does Kaizen improve productivity?

Kaizen is a productivity philosophy originating from Japan that works to make small incremental changes in the manufacturing process. Eliminating any type of wastes in a facility will help to improve productivity and the methodology of Kaizen promotes a clean and organized workspace to keep workers moving around the facility much more efficiently. While the… 

What are Kaizen techniques and tools I can use?

Kaizen offers a variety of tools and strategies a business can use to continually improve. Below are just a few techniques and tools that will aide in the implementation of Kaizen: PDCA Cycle: PDCA cycles are cycle that is often implemented when completing Kaizen strategies. This cycle can be used employees of all levels in… 

What is Kaizen?

Kaizen is a Japanese term that is translated to mean “change for the good.” Kaizen is both a methodology and philosophy that can be implemented in manufacturing facilities, warehouses, and production lines. It originated in Japan in the 1950s becoming a crucial part of the Toyota Production System. Kaizen often makes a noticeable impact on… 

 
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Kaizen Podcasts

Continuous improvement can make a process better, improve safety and save dollars. But it's a waste of time if the… 

Respect For People is a crucial part of lean and A3. Lean guru Bill Greider tells how A3 teams can… 

Lean IT expert Steve Bell helps solve the long-standing battle between a company’s goal of Continuous Improvement and the perceived… 

Continuous improvement is best started with management on board. Expert in the field, Jeff Hajek, describes the structure a company… 

The old suggestion box used to be a fair way for employees to offer ideas at their organization. However, over… 

Kaizen events that rock—time to increase efficiency in your organization! Lean/Six Sigma expert Mark Hamel tells of how to implement… 

Starting Lean Six Sigma with an expert. Chuck Hardy is a Black Belt in Six Sigma. Chuck tells of lean… 

Lean Methodology In Healthcare — hear Mark Graban on 5S, Six Sigma, and “lean Sigma” in the medical world. Mark Graban… 

One million people have back injuries in the workplace every year, according to OSHA. And most of those injuries are… 

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