person writing on pink sticky notes

What is Kaizen

Kaizen is a very important quality tool. It is used as a manufacturing standard in industries. When an employee is making kaizen, they are often given certificates or rewards as they have thought for the better growth of the organization. So, they are often appreciated with a certificate of appreciation.

Kaizen is the belief that small changes done consistently can create Hugh life changes over time.

Meaning of Kaizen

Kaizen is the Japanese word for “Continuous improvement”. Where “KAY” stands for Continuous and “ZEN” means improvements. Kaizen is very important for the organization’s growth and improvements. Nowadays the things are changing at a rapid pace so we should also try to change and bring some improving change in our organization for the growth and productivity.

What is the kaizen principle?

Kaizen principle is working best for the growth of the organization by improving or bringing the change in the organization for customer satisfaction. Kaizen is used in manufacturing industries where we have to follow customer satisfaction and standards. So, there are “5” Principle of Kaizen

  1. Know your Customer
  2. Zero Waste Products
  3. Follow action
  4. Empower people
  5. Transparency

Let us read in detail about all the principles

Know Your Customers

It is very important in the Industries which are working for the customer satisfaction to know about your customers. To know what is their interest, how they want the work to be done, customers have their standards which manufacturing industries have to follow so try to understand and work according to their standards. The organization should bring or create customer value to bring awareness to the organization so that the organization and the employees should know the importance of customers.

Zero Waste Products

The main principle of kaizen is to create a “ZERO WASTE PRODUCT”. That is a big improvement or changes one can bring to the manufacturing industries. Because in the manufacturing industries a lot of scraps are being generated every day which can bring a great loss and waste to the organization and the environment. So, we should understand the importance of waste products and make Kaizen that can help us filter the wastage.

Follow actions

Once the action plan is generated try to follow it. Bring it in the routine and paperwork and understand the difference. Study the difference after creating kaizens that what benefits did it bring to the organization. Follow the actions and note down the results and the changes in the documents and the display form to show it during the customer’s meetings.

Empower People

Empower people means organizing the team. Organizing the team is very important. Kaizen is an important Quality tool that is done by quality management. So, the Quality department organizes the team to work for the improvements and the growth of the organization. Though organizations accept kaizen from all the employees in the organization and they are apricated.


Have transparency in your work. When you are having a customer meeting be transparent and show all the legal and proper documents because customer satisfaction brings out the kaizen in the organization. When the customer is not satisfied then it led to kaizen development. So always have transparency in your documents and work.

Tools Used for Kaizen

Kaizen can be made by using various tools but as per quality standards, they are done followed by “2” main tools. Total Quality Management Team work on this tool to bring a change or the improvement in the organization and to develop new kaizen in the organization to make work fast and with less wastage.

“2” Tools used for Kaizen

  2. “5s “TOOLS



When you are introducing kaizen in the process it led to a change in the system and the process. To accept the change and to bring kaizen into the working process we have to plan and introduce it accordingly. Planning is done using various quality tools and makes sure that the kaizen introduced is going to prove beneficial.


Once the approval is done and the documentation work is done related to the process of kaizen it is time to execute it. So, that practically you know how much effect does it have and what will be the results and outcome.  So, it is time to brings thoughts into action.


After execution it is the time to decide and check whether the Kaizen introduced is beneficial or not. Check the execution, planning, raw materials, loss, profits, etc, etc from the output produced after the change. Perform various quality tools to check the performance of how the process is running.


Once the process is completed with successful completion it is time to bring it as a standard process and to perform. After the successful completion, it is time to bring it into practice and perform the kaizen as a regular process.

“5S” Tools

5S tools consist of 5 elements starting with S. It is a very useful and important tool introduced by Japan.

  1. Seiri (Tidiness)
  2. Seiton (order)
  3. Seiso (Cleanliness)
  4. Seiketsu (Standardizing)
  5. Shitsuke (Discipline)

Seiri (Tidiness)

Seiri means to sort out. Employees should short out and manage what are critical and necessary things and label them accordingly. Useless should be kept aside or in the lower section thereby the most important and useful should be properly label and kept in a safe place.

Seiton (Order)

Seiton is to organize things. Employees waste too much time searching and finding important documents. so it is very important to organize the most important documents so that when we need it is easily available without wasting too much time.

Seiso (Cleanliness)

Seiso means to make the workplace and the document look clean and tidy. The document should be kept in proper folders and properly labeled and arranged. Use cabinets and drawers to organize all the useful and important documents with proper labels.

Seiketsu (Standardizing)

Every Company should have some standard rules which should be followed in the workplace. Standardizing is very important in the organization. It is important so that the employees ensure total quality and follow as per the policies.

Where there is no standard, there can be no Kaizen

– Taiichi Ohno (Father of the Toyota production system)

Shitsuke (Discipline)

Self-discipline is very essential in the organization. Some rules and regulations are important in the companies like not wearing casual, carrying I cards, arriving on time. All these rules help to maintain employee discipline so that the employees can work with proper discipline and in a properly organized way.

Benefits of Kaizen

There many benefits of introducing Kaizen for the organization and also for the employees working.

  1. Improved Productivity
  2. Zero waste
  3. Low cost
  4. People are motivated
  5. People are known

Improved Productivity

Kaizen is introduced only to increase growth and productivity. Kaizen helps to bring new improved changes or good changes in the organization that will directly affect the increase in productivity. Therefore, introducing Kaizen in the organization is very important. Productivity may also be increase by introducing new products through the Existence method using kaizen.

Zero Waste

Kaizen helps reduce wastage, Manufacturing industries introduce a lot of scraps and wastage while manufacturing their product which leads to a great loss of the final products, raw material, costs, and labor work which should be improved in the organization. Kaizen help in doing so, while introducing timely and processes kaizen can help reduce the wastage.

Low Cost

Introducing Kaizens can also help in reduction in cost as the same present process can be used for the different productivity or maybe with the help of kaizen, there would be minimum use of blue-collar people. So, it can help organization cut their cost.

People are motivated

Employees who are introducing kaizens and have successful completion which is accepted in the organization can be considered as a great achievement for the employee as they are showing their interest in the growth of the organization. The company will honor them with certificates or with rewards, the organization will show their gratitude towards the employee and hence the employee will be motivated to impose more ideas for the growth.

People are known

Mostly in the manufacturing industries, many people are working so it can be difficult to identify the people. But if you have done a great job that has helped organize for the growth you will be always recommended non the top management for showing your interest in the wellbeing of the organization.

Disadvantages of the Kaizen

  1. Change is difficult
  2. Training requirement
  3. Cost
  4. Taking Risk

Change is difficult

Changes are often not appreciated or accepted by many employees. They will always be unhappy with the change and they will always push the organization towards the old system. Moreover, there are old employees in the organization who are working for years together and they have the same habit of doing work the way they were doing 20-yeards back, they are not ready to accept the changes thinking that we were also doing the same work without such things and with great productivity. So, it makes it hard for the organization to make employees understand the benefits.

Training Requirement

Improving new things or bringing some change in the organization can bring a lot of misbalance in the organization as people really won’t understand how they have to work on it. So, the organization must introduce various training programs for the organization so that the work is done with productivity. This may take a lot of time and money.


Introducing kaizen leads to a training program in the organization. Kaizen can also be done by introducing some new equipment in the organization. All such things can bring a lot of financial disbalance in the organization and hence the organization has to face to cost for introducing Kaizens.

Taking Risk

Kaizen means changing for the good and improving for the good. So, change can sometimes be risky. If kaizen is not followed with proper quality standards, then it can bring a great risk for the organization. Though the chances for such things are very low.


Kaizen is the strategic planning for continuous improvement in the organization. The principles of kaizen are very flexible and simple. Kaizen can be implemented in many areas or departments like manufacturing industries, engineering, services, etc. If the kaizen is introduced fulfilling various tools and its principle it can aim good productivity and growth of the organization. When employees are introducing to kaizen, the organization appreciates them with the rewards.

Kaizen is extremely beneficial if introduced with proper tools and under quality management teams. Kaizen always brings out the profit in the organization and it should always be followed as a standard. Employees should be always encouraged and provided with training so that they can introduce the kaizen technique in the workplace and help the organization grow.


Recommended books to learn more about Kaizen

Article Credit

This article is contributed by Ms. Pragya Delhiwala. Experienced as a quality engineer after completing her education: 2nd rank BE in Electronics & Communications; 1st rank MBA in TQM. She is passionate about management, writing and painting.

More articles from Ms. Pragya Delhiwala:

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