As with any great system of operations or technique of processes, it advances and evolves on its own. Kaizen is one of those simple miracles that actually implements its own technique automatically. So what will be the state of Kaizen in 100 years?
As we all know, kaizen is a Japanese word which means “change for better” or improvement. In 1950, there was a development of the quality circles which went on to become what we know of as the Toyota Production System (TPS). This system included the philosophy that continuous small improvements can add up to monumental benefits. These benefits include lower production costs, improvements in quality, and of course increased degree of customer satisfaction.
To answer our topic question, let’s start by breaking down the definition of waste.
Waste: To consume spend or employ uselessly or without adequate return.
When any attention is paid to detail and identifying where waste or muda (the Japanese word for waste) is originating from, improvements will follow. Waste happens when attention isn’t being paid to changes. We all know the old saying, “The only thing that stays the same is change.” That being said, steps in work processes can become obsolete and thus create waste and possibly an unsafe work environment.
Kaizen is now considered a philosophy and has its own set of tools to help achieve its primary objectives, which is to identify and eliminate waste in all areas of the production process.
Another consideration of this philosophy is to focus on the workers and workflow to ensure quality and safety as well. So special attention is made to making work processes easier to perform by restructuring these processes so that safety is increased and production is increased. With physical demands decreasing, more efficient work processes naturally occur.
Kaizen in 100 Years
With the onset of artificial intelligence rapidly advancing, it is a good bet that kaizen would be programmed as a characteristic that will seamlessly help create a better work environment globally. Kaizen now has a mind of its own.