The kaizen as a tool for innovation in companies

At the present the competitiveness causes the company managers try to apply complex technologies and tools to address several problems that can be solved with common sense approach at low cost. Because of the increasing competitive global market, in the middle of the first decade of the century, companies were in search of new ideas and practices that work regardless of where they originate, with the purpose of creating organisms in continuous process improvement, learning and leaders whose power and personal influence is exercised so that harmony, shared participation, consensus, team structure, communication free flowing, and employee empowerment is adapted reliably and comfortably achievement of market share, net income, I return on assets, earnings per share and corporate success.

In response to these exigencies of the market, the Japanese term kaizen means continuous improvement arises. The kaizen philosophy assumes that our way of life, whether our work, social or home life, efforts should focus on continuous improvement. Improvements under kaizen are small and incremental, causes dramatic results over time. Western management worships innovation; major changes as a result of technological advances. This philosophy was mixed with quality processes and streamlining the work.

Kaizen becomes a form of management in companies that requires the commitment and participation of all to improve efficiency in a gradual way, without looking great changes, bringing improvements each job to a lump sum of significant improvement. Innovation is unique, and its results are often problematic, the kaizen process, based on common sense approaches and inexpensive ensures incremental progress that compensates in the long run. It is a low-risk approach. Managers can always return to the old way without incurring large costs.

On the other hand, innovation is a continuous and intensive process that requires knowledge of technology, internal organization and technical, economic and human and market the company and the environment in general resources. Therefore, innovation is not only to make more sophisticated products or services, or produce them with better technology, it is to make them better suited to market needs, creating value. In addition, innovation is the key element that explains competitiveness. In this sense, innovation and competitiveness belong together, but not necessarily exist without the other. In addition, innovation is linked to all levels of competition and can be applied in any of these. However, it can be competitive without being innovative with only maintain systems of continuous improvement, but improvement processes do not become sufficient when the market is saturated when demand is high and where there needs to existing products or services they fail to solve. At this point, innovation becomes a key to achieving competitive process, because efforts to improve have reached their limit and are no longer enough to keep going.

Consequently, the two terms explained above, it is not surprising then identify the Kaizen and Innovation must go hand in hand, one does not replace the other, on the contrary, they are complementary and inseparable ingredients of progress. The changing world of today, continuous technological changes, and so short life cycles for products and services, more informed customers, changes in their habits and voracious global competition require companies time shorter response with higher quality, greater variety, and lower costs.

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Image courtesy of Number 10 at Flickr.com

All companies must accept constant change in order to survive and stay in the market; success lies in the ability of the company to recognize and interpret signals from the environment and the strategy that defines these signals to work in their favor. To achieve this, companies must apply tools that enable comprehensive and harmonious face all challenges and achieve success and differentiation from competitors, a goal that may well be achieved by the application of a tool such as Kaizen. However, Kaizen is primarily associated with incremental innovations, because in their processes of continuous improvement the induced changes are not radical, changes are gradual. In general, innovations are first obtained a series of incremental changes in processes through Kaizen, and as it progresses, reach significant changes that generate innovation in processes, services or products. This is achieved if there is real commitment to the company, it must keep a balance between Kaizen and Innovation; it should not be the continuous improvement process but this should not interfere with the search for innovative opportunities.

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Image courtesy of Celestine Chua at Flickr.com

It is clear that innovation occurs when continuous improvement is exhausted, but immediately after the innovation has implemented the Kaizen again. Kaizen both to innovation, people are the key part. As Steve Jobs said, “Innovation is not about money, it’s about people,” so it is with the Kaizen depends 100% of people. In this sense, the success of companies is directly related to the success of its people, personal improvement of each employee at every confrontation is leading to be better for the company. To the extent that we manage to identify the capabilities of each of the people in the company and take advantage for the common goal, the company will be more successful and achieve question everything related to the company in order to identify flaws and establish improvement strategies and solving with less resistance more effectively.

To read more about kaizen visit my post: How Kaizen Can Help You Live a Better Life

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