lean manufacturing concepts explained

Kaizen principle

Kaizen principle is based on doing small improvements to the system when there is an opportunity. In today’s world word small has a relative meaning and almost can absorb any scale of changes. Kaizen is one of the main components of Just In Time (JIT). It keeps the process of finding and removing of waste going in lean manufacturing environment. This is the base for long term success of lean manufacturing.

Traditional manufacturing principles which are based on just in case production techniques, relies on big innovations to change their production systems. Innovations can be in techniques, equipment or in management. These innovations are not continuous process. They take time and effort to change the system.

In contrast kaizen relies on the people working in the organization to come up with changes for the improvement. These are not limited to one particular area or a section. Only criteria is whether there is space for the improvement.

An important aspect of Japanese type of manufacturing is the heavy employee participation in their decision making process. Every employee is treated as an improver of the system. This management system is based on kaizen principles. In a lean manufacturing environment, kaizen is not something people do daily or hourly. It is the lifestyle of the lean manufacturing. So people live with it. Seeing wastes and finding solutions not something unfamiliar.

If a system stop after initial implementations, it is very hard to get it back running. This is almost impossible without putting huge amount of effort. One reason why lean manufacturing is very sustainable because it has the momentum of kaizen. When the lean wheels get rolling the momentum will be provided by kaizen. It propels the system without allowing it to sit and relax.

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