Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Kaizen being implemented wrongly by most

Kaizen, otherwise known as continuous improvement process, is an incremental effort based on feedback to improve the business operations so that value can be added in the products or services delivered. However, judging from the many Kaizen processes that I've heard so far, the attempted implementation does not fully reflect the true purpose of Kaizen.

Ideas for the continuous improvement is meant to come from the workers as they are less likely to be radically different, and therefore easier to implement. However, some have taken this literally and requested feedback to be given on a set frequency. That defeats the purpose of Kaizen because the feedback will only come when they find that a certain process can be improved. In addition, the management support is also important because if the management is known to be not receptive of any improvements or changes due to priority, then the workers will not even bother to suggest. Last but not least, workers are generally afraid that any improvements may render their jobs useless and therefore they will lose their jobs.

I feel that the key focus of Kaizen is the process in place where the senior management, finance and HR are in agreement on how to encourage workers' feedback. Workers are most concern of job security and their benefits. If Kaizen is not structured around what concerns workers' the most, the outcome will not be that ideal as the motivation is missing.

How could staff think of improving any processes if it may end up with the staff doing additional work or losing their job in the process?


Meridius said...

In SG there is no real Kaizen, continuous improvement where everyone is a customer-supplier (C-S) chain is non-existence due to the domineering nature where the management wants full authority and control..... long given up hope in this place

chantc said...

I think it's not an issue with Singapore but more of companies in general. Management must have trust and faith in the workers and one of the ways you can do that is understanding how to do the ground work. If management doesn't know how to do the groundwork, then there is this issue, I feel.

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