Some significant terms related with Kaizen

In the Kaizen philosophy, there are multiple very important concepts for its using and application. As we have seen in this blog, this is one of the most important industrial thinking ways not only for manufacturing organizations but also for other industries, like banking, healthcare, technology, government, among other fields. This term refers to all those actions and activities that companies must do for being better in their daily processes and have the constant improvement for offering major quality products and services to their customers.

It is important to say, that the Kaizen thinking not only gives to businesses the opportunity for being more productive and efficient but also gives to them the possibility of being more competitive in the market they are, due to the added value that process improvement contributes. In this article, we will see some significant concepts that are part of the Kaizen thinking or are related to it.

Toyota Methodology

The Toyota methodology is considered one of the principal pillars for the developing of the Kaizen philosophy and the Japanese working procedures known today. This method was developed in the 1970 decade as the evolution of the Ford working way, which was the most used system for serial manufacturing in that time. With the basis of this production system, Toyota implemented different mechanisms for having a more flexible and costs fixed manufacturing model, giving more efficiency and competitiveness.

As we mentioned, through the Toyota methodology, organizations reached more flexibility, which gave them more rotation in the working posts, and costs fixing, increasing the production quality, with lower costs. This method, also opened the path for the creation of the Just in time system, which is one of the most important concepts for today’s organizations, giving to them the possibility of being more efficient, reducing their stocks and having what every process need in the right time.

With the Toyota Methodology, companies from different industries acquired different techniques for producing on demand and not for having high inventories. In addition, through this system, organizations can adapt their processes and activities for manufacturing only what they need, in the right quantities and in the adequate time.

Lean Manufacturing

This concept is very related with the Toyota Methodology and its understanding is vital for the Kaizen thinking. This term refers to all those activities implemented by different industries for having more adjusted production processes. In other words, is the method used by a particular company for reaching the highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness, through the costs reduction and adjusting all their resources in the most optimal way.

The Lean Manufacturing mechanism, also known as Adjusted Manufacturing, focuses all its efforts in removing all those elements considered waste within a production process. Put differently, this system works for eliminating all those activities which make manufacturing procedures more inefficient, like higher waiting times, transportation, reprocessing, among other elements.

Thanks to the Lean Manufacturing, companies not only are more efficient, but also can produce higher quality articles, giving better products to their users, and increasing the customer experience.

Image courtesy of Unsplash at


Gemba is a Japanese word meaning value creation, and in manufacturing is used for implementing better production practices for having better products and services. With Kaizen, the Gemba concept could be understood as all those actions developed by a particular organization for having a constant improvement in its procedures. Put differently, Gemba-Kaizen is the method for understanding how a process works and which are their failures for improving or correct them, making it better and more effective.

The Gemba concept was developed by Taiichi Ohno, who was a Toyota executive, for giving to all those workers participating in a particular process, the opportunity of analyzing it and make the needed corrections and improvements for having a better one.


This is a Japanese word that means the recognition of own mistakes. In manufacturing, this concept has been used for knowing which failures have a specific production process with the main purpose of making it better. Moreover, this concept not only focuses its efforts in the errors recognition but also works for being in constant improvement, letting companies work always for being better and more competitive.


This method is based on the Japanese technique called baka-yoke, which means “mistake-proofing”. In industrial terms, the Poka-Yoke concept refers to all those activities that companies must implement for avoiding mistakes in their manufacturing processes. In other words, they are all those actions developed by a particular organization for making their procedures error-less.

Through the Poka-Yoka, companies not only have better processes but can have the tools for implementing better processes in the future or make corrections to the existing ones. In addition, with this method, every worker can understand where it can make mistakes or failures, which could affect the production chain and hence the products or services quality.

Related: The principal methods for applying the Kaizen thinking by David Kiger

* Featured Image courtesy of Maryland GovPics at


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