Kaizen, also known as Continuous Improvement, can be roughly translated from Japanese to mean "good change." It’s a long-term approach to work that systematically seeks to achieve small, incremental changes in processes in order to improve efficiency and quality. In Western workplaces a "Kaizen Blitz" is synonymous with a concentrated effort to make quick changes that will help achieve a short-term goal.


In his book "Out of the Crisis," Dr. Deming shared his philosophy of continuous improvement:


1.  Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business and to provide jobs.

2.   Adopt the new philosophy.

3.   Eliminate the need for mass inspection by building quality in to begin with.

4.  Stop awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost.

5.  Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service to improve quality and productivity and thus constantly decrease costs.

6.   Institute on the job training.

7.   Institute leadership. The aim of supervision should be to help people, machines and gadgets do a better job.

8.   Drive out fear so that everyone can work effectively for the company.

9.    Break down barriers between departments.

10.  Eliminate asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity.

11.  Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of their right to pride of workmanship.

12.  Remove barriers that rob people in management of their right to pride of workmanship.

13.  Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.

14.  Put everyone in the company to work on accomplishing the transformation. The transformation is everybody's job.


In Western culture, Kaizen is often broken down into four steps: assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating.

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