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Definition - What does Kaizen mean?

Kaizen is a Japanese word that means improvement or change for the better. Kaizen is a philosophy that emphasizes small, incremental, continuous improvement. Kaizen is applied in manufacturing, engineering, business management, maintenance, office management, health care, safety and in many other industries and applications.

Safeopedia explains Kaizen

Implementing a large change generally involves significant amount of investments as well as risk in the business. On the other hand, kaizen does not involve additional money, manpower, machines and space. Kaizen philosophy is practiced by introducing a so-called kaizen workshop, a 3 to 5 day program with cross-functional teams that focus on implementing changes with a specific objective and scope in a particular area of operation. Kaizen eliminates the waste in the form of material, time, planning and process. It helps standardize the operation for easy monitoring, controlling, comfort, safety and simultaneously ensuring more productivity and profit.

Kaizen was first implemented in Japan after World War II. Many Japanese enterprises effectively used kaizen for the improvement of their production. Toyota is one of the pioneers of this philosophy and is largely credited for the spread of kaizen worldwide.

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