Isn’t it amazing how Amazon has embraced Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma and has made Kaizen a way of life? Financially, Amazon has been doing extremely well — Amazon has been in the black for the last four quarters!
Jeff Bezos has been continuously putting the profits back into Amazon for continuously improving every aspect of the company. This is true Kaizen, and the reward has been that Amazon’s current market cap is nearly $470 billion!
A Kaizen event take time, and also takes the staff out of their daily tasks to dedicate to improving what isn’t working or is unnecessary in the company’s current processes. The end results are worth it. Just ask Jeff Bezos: he has made this his philosophy.
A typical Kaizen event lasts about one business week; each issue is a separate event. This is a strategy that puts staff members of all levels working together with their collective talents and knowledge for a successful result.
What is the general strategy?
- State the problem/issue
- Provide any details/background
- Set the goal
- Review the current state of the process
- Develop a plan for improving the issue at hand
- Implement new plan for improvements
- Review and improve what is not working
- Report findings
An easy way to remember an individual cycle is by the acronym PDCA.
- P=Plan (establish a plan and expected results)
- D=Do (take action)
- C=Check (confirm expected results achieved)
- A=Act (review results, determine its success and do it again)
Using Kaizen events helps employees think differently about their job. It creates a culture of true value, helping create loyalty to the company, because the staff feels that they are truly involved in the company’s success.
The philosophy of Jeff Bezos follows the Kaizen philosophy. Every year, he publishes the original letter to his stockholders that he wrote back in 1997, where he stresses the importance of customer service and providing value, most of all creating a work atmosphere where staff think like business owners.
Success was the end result.
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