What goes through your mind when you think about working for a company? Or what do you think about running one yourself? We can already imagine: “what a headache”, “labor exploitation again”, “objectives are not met”, and “wasted investments with failed projects”. Well, creating a company is not an easy task, we all know that. But have you ever thought about applying a proper management strategy? Past mistakes are a perfect opportunity to learn and apply other, more effective strategies like the Kaizen Method.
That’s right! There’s an opportunity to create a project with a successful approach, a healthy work environment, and with creativity being the pillar of everything that’s done. That’s what the Kaizen method is all about, and that’s what you’re going to learn about below to put it to the test in your own projects.
Become the entrepreneur you always wanted to be!
Table of Content
What is the Kaizen method?
The Kaizen methodology aims to implement efficient business management strategies while discarding everything that’s not providing good results and improving relationships both inside and outside the company to increase productivity and quality levels.
To understand a little better the dynamics of the Kaizen method, you have to imagine that where there’s a mistake, there’s an opportunity for growth, and where something is good, there can be something better.
In other words, there’s always a chance to improve the situation of a company, you are never perfect, so you can always be much better than before.
Based on this philosophy, (to call it some way), a much more conscious and realistic company is built, and work is done on what’s really important to work on.
From the smallest to the biggest. No matter the size of the achievement, what matters is to be constant for efficient development.
Why is the Kaizen method so important?
If there’s a method that provides you with the necessary tools and strategies to identify and solve your company’s errors, it’s the Kaizen method.
As a basis, what is sought is a rethinking of the whole situation of your company and how activities and processes are carried out.
Therefore, the restructuring starts from the internal aspect of your company, that is, your employees. All your team and staff will be motivated so that they can grow professionally, personally, and professionally.
This translates into better results both in quality and productivity.
For this reason, Kaizen seen from a philosophical point of view, works these labor parameters through the famous 5 “S”: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke.
First process (SEIRI)
This first step of Kaizen has to do with the classification of what is effective and what is not, in the organizational processes. That is to say: what doesn’t work is completely eliminated and only what is functional and necessary remains.
Second process (Seiton)
What was previously classified, it’s time to sort it in order to find the best solutions. At this point, we begin to detect aspects such as time lapses that are not usually productive and therefore, we begin to rethink ideas to avoid wasting that time.
Third process (SEISO)
How can cleaning be done both at a personal and work level? Well, by dealing with all those situations that may be affecting your employees’ moods, and therefore, their productivity and efficiency.
At the same time, cleaning the workspaces, and keeping the place clean and comfortable, helps a lot to improve work motivation.
Fourth process (SEIKETSU)
Evaluation process or standardization of results. At this point, the new changes that have been implemented in the company begin to be studied in order to determine whether they are bringing the expected results.
When it’s been determined that the changes are really effective and are having good results in productivity, the whole company will begin to apply these changes. Therefore, it’s expected that the objectives will begin to be achieved.
Fifth process (SHITSUKE)
A team of psychologists and coaching guides must make sure that the previously implemented changes are still on course and bearing fruit.
That is to say, maintain discipline and self-control.
To this end, it’s necessary, as was pointed out at the beginning, that the collaborator or work personnel have their work, leisure and rest times respected. In addition, of course, economic incentives are a fundamental part of ensuring that quality is as expected.
It’s important to remember that the company is solely responsible for ensuring that these parameters are fully complied with, as they are the pillars of the Kaizen method.
Principles of the Kaizen Method
Now, what does the Kaizen method value the most? You may ask.
Well, the methodology has some basic and fundamental principles that, when followed, aim to improve every aspect of the company. Get to know each of them below and start applying them:
1. Say goodbye to conventional ideas
Conventional ideas are understood as the ideas that your competitors bet on as a matter of security or comfort zone.
The market not only allows you but encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and take risks in order to create beneficial change. Think about what others are not doing that you can do to satisfy needs.
This means being disruptive, improving products and services for the benefit of society, and also offering ideas regarding the company’s internal processes and relationships.
Keep in mind the needs of your collaborators, they should be able to count on covered medical services including work psychology sessions. Respect their rest and meal schedules and, if overtime is required, these hours must be properly remunerated.
2. Think about solutions and not obstacles
Another typical behavior when trying to move forward with projects, businesses, and trades, is to always think about the obstacles they represent and why they would not be feasible or possible.
With the Kaizen methodology, this has no place, since the purpose here would be to think of solutions so that the project, business, or trade can be carried out.
That is to say, the ideas do not remain on paper but are put into action and in case of obstacles, find feasible solutions and study the results.
3. Act quickly
If there are deficient procedures or activities, the right thing to do is to identify them, accept them, and recognize that action must be taken immediately.
It’s no secret that not everything is perfect, human beings can make mistakes and therefore, if you or someone in your team makes a mistake, you accept it and act accordingly.
In conclusion, it doesn’t matter if the objective hasn’t been achieved 100%, the important thing is to act quickly in a situation and make the most of it. While it’s important to ensure quality, a project doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect to be profitable.
4. Recognize inefficient practices
This is a fundamental pillar of the Kaizen methodology, recognizing when mistakes or bad practices have been made, and trying to remedy them.
Analyze your past with a critical eye that allows you to discern whether you are doing things right or not, accept when you have not, and value what you have done well.
The first step for improving is acceptance, so whatever you have done wrong in the past, it is time to make a 180° turn and do things differently.
On the other hand, all those good practices and decisions that you have made in the past in an ethical way can be rescued to continue to be applied.
Here the fundamental thing is to apply everything that is beneficial for the development of the company.
5. Creativity first, capital second
Of course! We all like money, and the intention of every project is clear, to be able to generate money and profitability for the business to improve our quality of life.
But, think about it, what’s the money worth if it has been obtained through a fraudulent business? The success will be momentary. The right thing to do is to come up with creative, profitable ideas that truly meet the needs of society.
Neither your customers nor your collaborators are fools. They know when they are being taken advantage of, so be creative and smart. When a good idea is applied, capital will follow, but what’s important is the experience and the results of good work and market practices.
6. Learn from everyone
Have you ever heard that we can learn from everyone? Well, there’s no truer phrase than that one. The entrepreneurial business process is a constant learning process, and from everyone, you can learn.
From the toxic customer? You learn how to handle them and what you can do to avoid bad comments or uncomfortable situations.
From the employee who does nothing? Well, you study the reasons for their lack of interest and negotiate solutions that benefit both parties.
Crisis situation? Understanding how your team works helps you find efficient solutions.
As you can see, even in unfortunate or often frustrating situations, you need to know how to interpret and learn from your mistakes. All your collaborators and team members are your allies in the development process, so taking care of them should be your priority.
Then come your customers, who are your main target, so to speak. Study their behaviors and responses, always maintain professionalism, and don’t allow abuses.
7. You can never be too good
This, far from being meant to discredit, detract, or bias, is quite the opposite. What we mean is that you can always be better than before. If something has gone well, it means that next time it can be better, but for that, you have to know how to study and understand the results.
Improve the mistakes, enhance what you did well, and work according to this purpose. When you understand each and every one of these principles, you will see that the results of your work will be multiplied, not only will you be successful but your company will be happy in general.
How to apply the Kaizen method
Learn how to start implementing this method in your company in an effective way so that you begin to see the expected results.
1. Establish your team of collaborators
Establish the team designated to accompany you in the process of applying the Kaizen method effectively. It’s important that this committee can be integrated by members that are part of the different departments of your company so that there is a representative from each area.
The greater the diversity of your team, the better the quality of the information and experience needed.
Advantages: a team specialized in the task of applying the Kaizen model, to put its principles into practice and study the results.
2. Define objectives
Once your work team is formed, the next step is to establish the objectives to be improved in the company. To do this, it’s also necessary to identify the company’s current problems in order to start devising functional solutions.
Advantages: to be clear about what your company really needs in order to grow and develop, identifying everything that is wrong and rescuing what is right.
3. Data analysis
Once the necessary data has been collected to identify what problems the company has, it’s time to analyze it to find possible solutions. It should be noted that everything must be applied to the principles of the Kaizen methodology.
Advantages: to be clear about the problems to be solved.
Once the problem has been identified, the next step is to apply the ideas that were arrived at to provide a solution to the problem. Once the strategies are applied, the results must be studied and monitored.
Advantages: determine whether the solutions applied are having a positive effect on the company and its problems are beginning to diminish.
5. Follow-up of changes
Are the changes obtained the results you have been looking for for your company? This is what you must determine once you start applying the strategies under an action plan.
In case the objectives are not being achieved, the whole process should be documented and a conclusion should be reached.
Advantages: to know the effectiveness of the changes and if they are helping the company to improve its problems.
What were the results obtained during this process? Whether positive or negative, everything must be well documented in order to be able to react accordingly.
Advantages: Define which strategies are really effective and which are not.
Have you ever applied the Kaizen method, what results have you obtained?
If you enjoyed the content and found it useful, please share it!