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Article
Publication date: 21 May 2018

Wayne G. Macpherson, James C. Lockhart, Heather Kavan and Anthony L. Iaquinto

As employees in the lower ranks of a Japanese company advance through the levels of management and seniority their role in day-to-day kaizen activities shifts from that of…

Abstract

Purpose

As employees in the lower ranks of a Japanese company advance through the levels of management and seniority their role in day-to-day kaizen activities shifts from that of directly improving their own job, operations and surroundings to guiding, educating and facilitating understanding and practice. The emphasis of kaizen to the employee during career progression changes in an embedded, sequential and predictable manner. To a new employee, kaizen is a process to be implemented, something that is visible and largely provided through company training and job manuals, while not necessarily being fully understood. To the senior manager, however, one who has advanced up the corporate ladder, kaizen is tacit knowledge and accumulated experiences, and is seen as being more than just reducing costs, increasing productivity and decreasing lead times. At this point, kaizen becomes something invisible, something that can produce real influence on both the company’s profitability and the manager’s reputation. Consequently, what kaizen is actually changes from being a duty associated with employment to a matter of personal, group, collective, and organizational responsibility. The purpose of this paper is to explore the mechanism underpinning the transfer of kaizen (acknowledgement and exercise) in the Japanese workplace that results in it being sustained across multiple.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from research participants (n = 53) through a mixed-method multi-language field design comprising questionnaires and unstructured interviews conducted in genba, the workplaces of five domain-name multinational companies in Japan. Multi-level statistical analysis identified two largely mutually exclusive generational groups.

Findings

During their late 40s, employees were found to transfer their understanding of kaizen between the two forms. At this age, employees were identified to shift from being student to teacher; follower to leader; and disciple to sensei. This study identified how kaizen shifts from one generation to another; when kaizen shifts through the change in responsibility of employees; and changes in the understanding and practice that creates sustained business excellence.

Originality/value

Importantly, the study reveals how kaizen itself is a sustainable business activity in the workplace, one that Western business is struggling to emulate.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 39 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1994

G Wittenberg

Explores the Japanese kaizen philosophy and its application to manufacturing. The kaizen strategy is based on the process of gradual change bringing improvements to all…

Abstract

Explores the Japanese kaizen philosophy and its application to manufacturing. The kaizen strategy is based on the process of gradual change bringing improvements to all area of management and production. It is a people based system with standardisation being an essential feature. Describes a kaizen workshop held in the UK by the Kaizen Institute of Europe, with comments from the participants. Concludes with a brief history of the Kaizen Institute of Europe [KIE].

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2015

Wayne G. Macpherson, James C Lockhart, Heather Kavan and Anthony L. Iaquinto

The purpose of this paper is to develop a definitive and insightful working definition of kaizen for practitioners and academics in the West through which they may better…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a definitive and insightful working definition of kaizen for practitioners and academics in the West through which they may better understand the kaizen phenomenon and its intangible but critical underpinning philosophy.

Design/methodology/approach

A phenomenological study of the utility of kaizen within in the bounds of active kaizen environments in name Japanese industrial organisations was conducted over a three-year period in Japan. The research explored how Japanese workers acknowledge, exercise, identify and diffuse kaizen in a sustainable manner.

Findings

Kaizen is found to be a broad philosophical approach to work that serves different purposes for different members of the organisation, where no universal definition appears to exist yet differing ideologies are tolerated. Kaizen in Japan has a considerably deep meaning: it channels worker creativity and expressions of individuality into bounded environments, and creates an energy that drives a shared state of mind among employees to achieve proactive changes and innovation in the workplace.

Originality/value

This paper competently bridges the Japanese-Anglosphere cultural divide in social and business contexts. It contributes to the development of practitioner understanding of the utility of kaizen in Japan through unhindered cross-cultural research methodology, enabled by researcher competency and fluency in Japanese language and culture.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 36 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

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Article
Publication date: 17 February 2021

Manuel F. Suárez-Barraza, José Angel Miguel-Dávila and Manuel Francisco Morales-Contreras

The purpose of this paper is to explore, study, analyze and implement Kaizen–Kata methodology in a service food organization (first-level restaurant), facing challenges in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore, study, analyze and implement Kaizen–Kata methodology in a service food organization (first-level restaurant), facing challenges in different operational processes that affect and influence the case company performance and customer satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach

The service organization implemented Kaizen–Kata methodology to improve one operational problem process. A case-study approach was used in this research to understand the effects of the Kaizen–Kata methodology in solving problems in their operational service process. Different Kaizen–Kata techniques and tools (histograms, Pareto chart and Ishikawa diagram) using the Plan, Do, Check, Act improvement cycle framework were used.

Findings

Successful implementation of the proposed methodology reduced the main impact of the problem’s effects (customer’s complaints, process reworking, extra-cost, delays, among others). The effects of the problem were reduced on average by 70%. Some Kaizen–Kata routines were identified in a service process environment.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of the research is that this work is a just one-case study. A main generalization is not possible, because it involves a company within a company.

Practical implications

Some other service companies can use the Kaizen–Kata methodology to solve any kind of operational problem within their processes. Service managers can learn about the methodology to apply and improve their operational performance and handle customer’s complaints.

Originality/value

A continuous improvement manufacturing methodology was imported to apply in an operational service process. The Kaizen–Kata methodology contributed significantly to reduce delays, handle customer’s complaints, process reworking and deal with extra costs, among other operational problems’ effects. In addition to that, in the literature, most of the Kaizen applications are in manufacturing companies. To the best of authors’ knowledge, this was the first study of applied Kaizen–Kata in a service organization (a fast-food restaurant).

Details

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-669X

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Article
Publication date: 29 September 2020

Jagdeep Singh, Harwinder Singh and Amit Kumar

The purpose of this paper is to uncover the significance of green supply chain management (GSCM) to study the impact lean practices, namely, Kaizen and innovation…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to uncover the significance of green supply chain management (GSCM) to study the impact lean practices, namely, Kaizen and innovation management practices on organizational sustainability.

Design/methodology/approach

The subject of green supply chains attracts a growing interest in academic and professional literature since 1990. Questionnaire survey and structured interviews (set of questions) among the industrial professionals and academicians of northern India region have been performed to ascertain the significance of GSCM toward organizational sustainability. Structural equation modeling, Cronbach’s alpha, z-test, correlation and t-test have been used to ascertain the significance of lean practices toward sustaining organization by taking the mediating effect of GSCM.

Findings

The results signify the negative potential of combined Kaizen, innovation management and government policies on environmental thinking through supply chain. The innovation management strategies and Kaizen individually has positive influence on environment supply chain but government policies should be improved to improve the positive impact on environmental thinking through supply chain by decreasing pollution. Economic performance, environmental performance and competitive performance are significantly improved by implementing Kaizen and innovation management through GSCM.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited to northern India. Moreover, selection of industry and academic organizations has been done on convenient sampling technique.

Originality/value

The paper demonstrates the application of lean techniques, namely, Kaizen and innovation management practices, showing how it can bring real breakthroughs in organizational sustainability through GSCM.

Details

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, vol. 11 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-4166

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Article
Publication date: 10 October 2019

Khalil Ahmad Al-Hyari, Mohammed Khair Abu Zaid, Omar Suleiman Arabeyyat, Laith Al-Qwasmeh and Mohamed Haffar

The purpose of this paper is to explore the results of implementing the Kaizen approach in a caravan repairing project near the Jordanian–Syrian border in the Zaatari camp.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the results of implementing the Kaizen approach in a caravan repairing project near the Jordanian–Syrian border in the Zaatari camp.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on the exploratory qualitative research approach. The data were collected through interviews and on-site observation with employees who were involved with the caravan maintenance project and have adequate knowledge and information about this project. In this process, a fishbone diagram, a quality control tool, is used to recognize and explain a causal-effect relationship under the selected Kaizen theme.

Findings

The findings suggest that the Kaizen approach was economical in terms of both money and time. Also, waste elimination can be achieved through a variety of tools and easily combined with the Kaizen approach. Implementing the Kaizen approach is an effective and reliable system that allows for the tackling of all types of inefficiencies in the caravan repairing project.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this study will help policy makers and managers put together suitable and effective policies that will assist those firms in overcoming the demands of customers and competitors to deliver high quality, inexpensive products in less time through the application of the Kaizen approach. This, in turn, will lead to improved quality, efficiency and productivity in the most cost-effective way. However, these results should not be generalized since they are only confined to the context of caravan repairing project.

Originality/value

Very little research has been done that takes into account the contexts of developing countries. Additionally, most literature presents the use of Kaizen applications only in the manufacturing or production sectors. This study is the first to implement Kaizen as a continuous improvement technique in a caravan repairing project – a job shop industry different from the repetitive batch work environment that is usually associated with implementation of Kaizen. The current research should be of great interest to researchers, managers and professionals who wish to apply Kaizen approach as it is sustainable over time in similar projects.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 31 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

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Article
Publication date: 9 September 2019

Brian Vo, Elif Kongar and Manuel F. Suárez Barraza

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, a case study on the application of lean production principles in a manufacturing facility is presented to demonstrate the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, a case study on the application of lean production principles in a manufacturing facility is presented to demonstrate the impact of frequent and systematic use of a Kaizen event on quality and delivery performance. Second, the detailed description and analysis of the Kaizen event and its impact are provided, including a comprehensive analysis of the role of Kaizen events on employee participation and motivation.

Design/methodology/approach

The study utilizes a Kaizen event’s case study data with the help of various waste detection and elimination tools and techniques. Changes in overall productivity along with potential long-term improvements in the delivery process are also analyzed and documented.

Findings

Pre- and post-quality measures are provided to demonstrate the results of the event on the production quality and on the performance of the overall manufacturing processes. Qualitative findings regarding performance measurements and the impact on the employees are reported.

Research limitations/implications

The Kaizen team applied analytical techniques to one manufacturing site in North America of a company that has a manufacturing presence in 20 different countries.

Originality/value

Kaizen studies involving packaging operations are quite limited. This study fills this gap by detailing the Kaizen event implementation in a packaging delivery and dispensing systems manufacturer for the cosmetic industry. The implementation of this Kaizen event is detailed along with the data and techniques utilized for process improvement. The study also reports findings regarding the impact of the Kaizen event on employee participation.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 68 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Article
Publication date: 15 July 2019

Roma Mitra Debnath

With rising income and changing lifestyle, increased disposable income along with rapid urbanization is boosting the country’s biscuit market. The purpose of this paper is…

Abstract

Purpose

With rising income and changing lifestyle, increased disposable income along with rapid urbanization is boosting the country’s biscuit market. The purpose of this paper is to represent the implementation of Kaizen in a biscuit-manufacturing unit of Imperial Tobacco Company (ITC). Although the concept of Kaizen is not a standard practice in India, the company chosen for the case study has a prominence in the Indian market.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodologies that have been applied to implement Kaizen in the ITC are discussed. Why-Why techniques, fishbone diagram, failure modes and effects analysis, ABC analysis have been used to study cause and effects.

Findings

It was found that the yield was increased from 88.3 to 92.2 percent, which was a significant change, as far as the product line is concerned. The product complaints were reduced to zero with an added increased product quality rating system to 98.2 from the existing rating of 96.7. The product consistency was also improved as an application of Lean in the manufacturing process.

Research limitations/implications

This case study is restricted to the manufacturing sector, especially in the field of biscuit company.

Practical implications

The paper should assist those practitioners and consultants who have the desire to find a better way of Kaizen implementation in small-scale industries of India. The academia can also use this case study for a better understanding of the difference between the theoretical and application aspects of the concept.

Originality/value

This paper is an original contribution in the existing body of literature. It shows the application of Kaizen in the manufacturing sector in India.

Details

Journal of Advances in Management Research, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0972-7981

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Article
Publication date: 17 December 2019

Hisahiro Ishijima, Kaori Nishikido, Masashi Teshima, Sayumi Nishikawa and Eman Abdul Gawad

The purpose of this paper is to identify how the introduction and dissemination of the 5S-KAIZEN-TQM approach positively influence the Egyptian health sector and its…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify how the introduction and dissemination of the 5S-KAIZEN-TQM approach positively influence the Egyptian health sector and its sustainability. It also seeks to encourage effective and efficient introduction of the 5S-KAIZEN-TQM approach into the health sectors of low- and middle-income countries.

Design/methodology/approach

The pilot program introducing the 5S-KAIZEN-TQM approach into five Egyptian public hospitals spanned over 13 months from January 2016 to February 2017. During the pilot program, a series of interventions occurred to introduce the approach, such as seminars on the 5S and KAIZEN approach, consultation visits and progress report meetings. Data and information were collected through conducting interviews, observing directly and evaluating the implementation progress of 5S-KAIZEN-TQM activities.

Findings

The study identified the following factors in effective and efficient dissemination of 5S-KAIZEN-TQM activities in the Egyptian health sector: restructuring the quality management structure to establish Quality Improvement Teams and Work Improvement Teams in hospitals, generating strong leadership and commitment among leaders, conducting effective in-house trainings on the 5S-KAIZEN-TQM approach, monitoring and following up on 5S-KAIZEN-TQM activities and introducing the 5S-KAIZEN-TQM approach using non-clinical sections, which could also influence the sustainability of the activities.

Originality/value

This study holds value in its clarification of meaningful ways to disseminate and encourage the sustainability of the 5S-KAIZEN-TQM approach in Egyptian public health facilities. Moreover, officials from the Ministry of Health and Population and hospital managers in Egypt can use the findings to plan and disseminate this approach nationwide.

Details

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0952-6862

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Article
Publication date: 11 June 2018

Daniel Carnerud, Carmen Jaca and Ingela Bäckström

The purpose of this paper is to depict how Kaizen and continuous improvement (CI) are represented in scientific journals focusing on quality management (QM) from the 1980s…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to depict how Kaizen and continuous improvement (CI) are represented in scientific journals focusing on quality management (QM) from the 1980s until 2017. Additionally, the study aims to examine how Kaizen is studied and described and how the relationship between Kaizen and CI is portrayed.

Design/methodology/approach

The study applies a mixed methods approach to search for tendencies and outlines concerning Kaizen and CI in four scientific journals focusing on QM and two focusing on OM. The data set contains entries from 1980 until 2017, which makes it possible to depict how Kaizen has evolved over more than 30 years.

Findings

The findings show that Kaizen and CI attained special interest in the mid-1990s, after which interest appears to have decreased. However, the findings imply that a regenerated interest for the areas spiked post 2010. In addition, the results indicate that Kaizen is on the one hand accepted by one part of the management community but on the other hand completely ignored by the rest. Finally, the data illuminate a need to strengthen and clarify Kaizen’s theoretical basis and its relationship to CI.

Practical implications

If an aspiration exists to increase the success rate of Kaizen implementation, the results from the study highlight the need to address and clarify epistemological, terminological and theoretical issues.

Originality/value

Prior data mining studies pinpointing how Kaizen and CI have evolved over the last 30 years appear not to exist.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

Keywords

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