Kaizen – What is Kaizen?

Published by Sushil Shirke on

Kaizen = Change for the Better

The word Kaizen is translated from Japanese in a number of ways, most simply as “change for the better” and is interpreted as


  • “Kai” means “change.”
  • “zen” means “good.”

A “Kaizen” is a small improvement that is made by those who do the work. It is a small, low-cost, low-risk improvement that can be easily implemented. Kaizen is an ongoing methodology and philosophy for challenging and empowering everyone in the organisation to use their creative ideas to improve their daily work.

The word Kaizen, the way it is typically used, is synonymous with the phrase “continuous improvement.

An effective Kaizen approach is about making improvements that are connected to measurable results and a deeper purpose.  Most of Indonis customers have adopted Kaizen as the building block of their innovation culture across their shop floors and top floors.

Here are the various key Kaizen principles as outlined by Dr. Gregory Jacobson and his co-authors in their book Kaizen: A Method of Process Improvement in the Emergency Department

  • Continually improve.
  • No idea is too small.
  • Identify, report and solve individual problems.
  • Focus change on common sense, low-cost and low-risk improvements, not major innovations.
  • Collect, verify and analyze data to enact change.
  • Problems in the process are a major source of quality defects.
  • Decreasing variability in the process is vital to improving quality.
  • Identify and decrease non-value-added steps.
  • Every interaction is between a customer and a supplier.
  • Empower the worker to enact change.
  • All ideas are addressed and responded to in some way.
  • Decrease waste.
  • Address the workplace with good housekeeping discipline.