Productivity is one of the main concerns you always have as a business manager. When owners ask for more income, but without raising production expenses, you have the biggest question of all: How can your company increase productivity without decreasing quality? Most of the company managers think the first thing to look after is materials or any external matter related to production. However, a very few try to focus their attention on internal aspects of the company. Here is where you can find Kaizen as an extraordinary accomplice, since many of its principle are related to these issues. Kaizen system has gain reputation as a great support of an organization’s long-term competitive. Even though is not a new strategy, its roots come from years after the World War II, many of its principles can be applied by current companies as a way to improve productivity.
Correct mistakes as soon as they are found
The first principle is to correct mistakes as soon as possible. Even if your production is delayed for a little time, it would be better than a defective production which will end up in more costs for your company. Likewise, when you find flaws linked to employees procedures, the best thing you can do is to make the proper adjustments quickly. According to this, you need to prepare every person involve in the production process. As a result, they will be capable of detecting any mistakes, and fix them as it is necessary. In brief, what this principle clearly states is that you should not let mistakes snowballing, and correct any problem before it is too late.
Don’t wait for perfection. 50% of improvement now is fine
As business managers, you would like every little aspect of your business to be perfect. Nevertheless, you are going to find many obstacles to reach perfection. The second principle encourages you to not get discouraged because the imperfections. Work on them, even if your correction does not end up in perfection right away. Every process needs adjustments to accomplish the expected results, being in your case, a perfect production process. You have to pass some steps before to get your 100% improvement. You should not rush production processes to accomplish perfection in a short time because this can lead you to false steps that you will regret later. Patience will be your best friend, so you can achieve your productivity goals and not die trying.
Keep asking why until you get to the root cause
As the first principles show, your company production might have a lot of complications in its long way to go. These complications can have quite deep roots. You need to find the starting point of your production problems, and after that, you will be capable of fixing them. What this third principle expresses is how you can do this, and the answer is asking. The more you ask, deeper you will go, and sooner you will fix the problem that is getting your production behind. For this principle, you need to be curious, so you cannot be afraid to ask the sillier questions because sometimes these are the questions that will take you to the root cause.
Base decisions on data not opinions
The fourth principle is an easier one, since you know as business manager that opinions are not good advisers. That’s why you are obligated to avoid any personal judgment when you make a decision. In addition, you need the rest of the people around production process understand this principle. This is an extremely important issue considering that your big decisions are going to be based on little determinations of your company subdivisions. Employees have to understand that data is there for a reason, so every person taking part in production can use it. In this way, your company will have physical support of any made decision, and it will be able to go back to data if anything goes wrong during the production process.
Throw out all your old fixed ideas on how to do things
Finally, you arrive to the most important principle. You need to be able to change processes, materials, points of view, ideas, people, and many aspects of your company. The word Kaizen itself tells you what this principle is about; kai equals change and zen equals good. Not only have you as a business manager need to be able to make decisions and change things, but also the rest of your staff has to be prepared for this. On a world of continuous change, companies that do not evolve are destined to disappear. So, you have to change your fixed ideas when it is needed, and not get stuck in one moment. It does not matter if it is a good or bad moment. If it is bad, you know it need to be changed, and if it is good moment, it could be better. In a few words, you should not be afraid of breaking molds.