Kaizen is taken from the two Japanese words, Kai (Change) and Zen (Good), but is most often expressed as ‘Continuous improvement’.
Its roots stem from US war time engineering, where necessity demanded quick and implementable improvements as operational pressures and changing demands did not allow for large radical change. It’s since developed into a management philosophy for constant improvement in an unending pursuit of perfection.
Three pillars of Kaizen
A Kaizen approach can take many forms, but the three main pillars are:
- Gemba – Japanese for ‘Workplace’, focuses on ensuring you and your team have the right tools to work effectively and without clutter.
- Muda – Japanese for ‘Waste’, in focusing on waste elimination we target rework, delays, process bottlenecks, double-handling, and more
- Standardised change – Plan, Do, Check, Act. Quick, iterative sprints drive change fast.
Kaizen for advice
Adapted to the advice context, we take Kaizen seriously as a commitment to continuous improvement in what we consider the three key aspects to consider in an advice process.
- Client experience
- Risk management
In the pursuit of change, we seek a win-win-win with improvement on all three fronts. This is a whole of advice approach, which is necessary if you ever want to reach the ideal outcome: Simplicity.
What to expect from a Simply Kaizen approach
- Deep dive – We begin with benchmarking your business and following that with the ‘5 Why’s’ approach. Before we can improve a process, we need to know why we do it (and if we even need to)!
- Full-team engagement – Business improvement is everyone’s responsibility. We work with your whole team, often taking responsibility for key aspects.
- Client first approach – Ultimately, everything we do boils down to customer satisfaction. We love automation, but not at the expense of the client experience.
- Planning – We use the Knoster model to ensure change works and sticks.
- Execution – After we’ve identified what do so, we like to start with a sprint to get quick wins fast and we get our hands dirty doing it.
- Continuous improvement – Ongoing improvement is what we’re about. For as long as you’re focused on improvement, we’re there to multiply your efforts.