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Introduction to Kaizen

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To understand the phenomenon of lean, one must learn the tools within the philosophy and see how they are intertwined. As Chris A. Ortiz explains, Kaizen is one of those tools.
This chapter is from the book

Lean is not a “program”-based concept. This makes understanding lean difficult for many professionals because we all like nice step-by-step guidelines. In its simplest form, lean is about removing waste or non-value-added effort in a company. Removing or reducing this waste is a never-ending battle. By continually focusing on waste reduction, a company can react better to the needs of its customers and also operate at more efficient performance levels. To understand the phenomenon of lean, one must learn the tools within the philosophy and see how they are intertwined. Kaizen is one of those tools. Kaizen and lean are often confused; many people think that kaizen is lean, but it is only a part of the lean philosophy.

The most commonly used lean tools are

  • Kaizen
  • 5S
  • Standard work
  • Setup reduction and quick changeover
  • Kanban
  • Quality at the source
  • Total productive maintenance (TPM)

Kaizen

Kaizen is a Japanese word for “continuous improvement.” Kaizen involves all employees in a company focusing on process improvements. This first piece of the lean journey is often confused with lean itself, but kaizen is not lean. Lean is about removing waste; kaizen is about continuous improvements. Kaizen is part of lean. This book focuses on kaizen and the use of kaizen (continuous improvement) events.

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