Not all professionals in your position have heard of the Kaizen method and if you have, you may not be completely familiar with the process or why it matters. Kaizen is a Japanese word that means improvement or change for the better. When working in any production environment, a change for the better or an improvement are always something that can grab attention. To be implemented, however, these changes have to have demonstrated in the past that they deliver measurable changes that can be replicated. Examples of Kaizen can be found throughout the manufacturing sector if you take a closer look.
Examples of Kaizen: Fidelity Investments
An investment firm is not the first thing that is likely to come to mind when you think of examples of Kaizen, but Fidelity Investments not only made use of the process, they also enjoyed the benefits. The company’s Chairman and CEO believed in the examples of Kaizen he had seen and implemented the process by setting up a separate group to promote the concept. By developing individual business units focused on this concept, employees were motivated to reach higher levels and leadership qualities were encouraged. Individuals were evaluated on a monthly and quarterly basis to measure performance. Overall, as one of many examples of Kaizen, Fidelity Investments enjoyed greater customer satisfaction and improved profitability.
Examples of Kaizen: Canon
Canon implemented the Kaizen method in 1975 in an effort to try and excel when compared with international competition. The company was also seeking to expand its operations on a global scale. At the same time, like other examples of Kaizen, Canon was seeking to eliminate waste in order to more effectively serve the end customer. The company was also hoping to revitalize its workforce and deliver continuous improvements in its business processes. In examples of Kaizen delivering true innovation and benefit, Canon was able to introduce a Quality Assurance program, Production System, Personnel Training, and Production Assurance process within its operations. Perhaps the most significant outcomes in terms of examples of Kaizen and its benefits to an organization is the fact that it was able to produce a 3 percent per month productivity increase.
Examples of Kaizen: Gold Seal Engineering Products
India-based automotive spare parts manufacturer, Gold Seal Engineering Products, exports its innovations to a number of different companies. The organization is another of many examples of Kaizen implementation where the focus was to cut down on production set-up time. Gold Seal Engineering Products implemented the 5S principles of Kaizen to effectively cut down on its set-up time by 33 percent. In just six months, the organization was able to increase its production space by 45 percent, reduce its response time by 42 percent, cut machine downtime by 60 percent, reduce lead time by 25 percent and cut scrap by as much as 75 percent.
While these are just a few examples of Kaizen where the benefits far outpaced the implementation cost and cultural changes, the implications for continued improvements as a result of Kaizen were measureable and real. The examples of Kaizen making a marked difference in organizations throughout the world are many, so take a closer look at this method and what improvements it may have in store for you.