Kaizen methodology has been around for more than two decades and many businesses have adopted it. Most of them have seen positive results but the real challenge comes when it comes to maintaining the momentum and gains. Most enterprises prefer to stick to tried and tested formulas instead of innovating and experimenting.
As a result, they usually discourage a “think different” mentality and rarely encourage employees to share innovative ideas This brings stagnation and slows down their productivity and creativity. Slowly, they start to fall behind in the race and their competitors get ahead. If you want to reverse this cycle, then the Kaizen methodology might be an ideal choice for you but you have to implement it the right way.
In this article, Anti-Dos will learn how the Kaizen methodology can help you in boosting your productivity and creativity.
What is Kaizen?
Kaizen is made up of two words, “Kai” which means change, and “zen” which means good. Simply put, Kaizen means change for the better. The primary focus of Kaizen is on bringing constant improvement by bringing consistent change. Organizations have not only adopted Kaizen to introduce a culture of continuous learning, innovation, and integration.
What are The Different Types of Kaizen?
Kaizen can mainly be categorized into three different types.
• Reactive Kaizen
• Proactive Kaizen
• Innovative Kaizen
Reactive Kaizen is primarily used to overcome a problem that already exists. Proactive Kaizen is mainly focused on enhancing performance whether it is by improving the uptime or upskilling the workforce or through any other method. Innovative Kaizen let you conceptualize and bring your innovative ideas to life.
How Can You Use Kaizen To Boost Creativity and Productivity?
Here are seven ways you can use Kaizen to improve your team’s productivity and creativity.
1. Set Ambitious Goals
If you really want to make the most of the Kaizen methodology, the first thing you need to do is to set ambitious goals. You can see that in companies that have already adopted Kaizen. For instance, Toyota which is one of the earliest adopters of the Kaizen methodology sets audacious targets such as reducing its costs by 50% This not only forces employees to push harder but also prevents them from being complacent, which would have a positive impact on your productivity.
2. Take Feedback From People
One common mistake most Kaizen adopters make is they never ask people for feedback. Not only does it make your team members feel isolated from the decision-making process but it also negatively impacts your Kaizen progress. Ask team members about Kaizen ideas they can share with you and it will help you see things from a whole new perspective.
3. Keep All The Stakeholders Engaged
If you want to see the real benefits of Kaizen, you will have to keep all the stakeholders in the loop. Sometimes, businesses adopting Kaizen tend to ignore roles that might not seem directly related but can make a huge difference to your Kaizen journey. The best examples could be janitors, security guards, and landscaping crew. In most cases, they will tell you things that you might have never thought about or have ignored. They can help you find areas that need improvements so you can go back to the drawing board and fix the issue.
4. Assign The Right People To Lead The Initiative
Whether you are just starting your Kaizen journey or are struggling with it, you need to assign a dedicated team and leader to drive your Kaizen initiatives to success. Hire people that are not only enthusiastic but also have knowledge of Kaizen methodologies. Look at what other businesses are doing to untangle their Kaizen initiatives and guide them to success. Focus on building momentum especially if your Kaizen initiatives have been stuck for months. It can help you recover the lost time. That is where an effective Kaizen leader can weave his or her magic.
5. Hold Break Leave
Kaizen is a practical methodology. You will have to implement its principles in order to achieve results. It borrows a lot of things from martial arts and one of them is hold-break-leave. This essentially means that you need to stay true to the Kaizen methodology but once you have mastered the art, you can break away from it and make changes according to your specific business needs.
Lastly, we distance ourselves from the Kaizen best practices and carve our own path. This is where you should create your own methodology. Lastly, you need to refine this method and promote it as your own way to do Kaizen.
6. Seek Help From Your Customers
Another area that most businesses adopting Kaizen tend to ignore is asking for help from their customers. You might be wondering how can a business seek help from their own customers. Yes, you can provide that you choose the right customers. If you have a supplier development program, you can ask those customers for help. They will be more than happy to help you. This will not only help you unearth new supply chain opportunities but can also assist you in taking advantage of them. Moreover, this will give you a clear idea about the needs of customers and their expectations.
7. Track Your Progress
When you are on your Kaizen journey, make sure you keep an eye on your progress. Set milestones and metrics and track them on a regular basis so you know exactly how much progress you are actually making towards your end goal. Keeping tabs on your Kaizen activities can also help you identify any slowdowns in your progress. This usually indicates that the energy is waning or an issue is causing disruption and you need to do something about it like investing in DDoS protected dedicated server. If your projects are missing deadlines, it is also an indicator that there is something wrong and you need to fix it as soon as possible.
Have you ever applied Kaizen in your business? Did it help you to improve your team productivity and creativity? Share it with us in the comments section below.