Kaizen or Lean

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    Hi All,
    I work in a financial services orgainisation with the strength of 1000 employees. Recently i came to know about Kaizen-“Continuous Improvement” and thought that i can introduce the same in my orgainisation. I admire kaizen because of its continuous improvement principle and an easy to use initiative.
    Now my doubt is what is the difference between Lean and Kaizen?
    Which would be the best for my organisation? I know this is a vague question but could someone please explain me the difference and suitability?
    Thanks for your time.



    Depending upon who responds you may see a variety of responses.  My take,

    Kaizen is a part of Lean.
    Kaizen is a Process.  Lean is a Philosophy.
    Lean is a mirror of the Toyota Production System.  Kaizen is a part of TPS.
    “Where there is no Standard there can be no Kaizen” – Taiichi Ohno (one of the key contributors to TPS)
    Have a nice day…



    Suggest  to  plan  for  a  Kaizen  Event (for  5  days),then  evaluate  the  outcome  and  decide,best  wishes


    luke skywalker

    Get ready to hear conflicting responses. EdG’s response was quite good – Kaizen can be thought of as a part of Lean. Lean is a long term philosophy and Kaizen is a day by day component of that drive to eliminate waste and rework in order to create and preserve a smooth, flowing operation.
    Kaizen roughly translates to continuous thoughtful improvement and involves each employee taking 1 small task and finding a way to do it bette – then continuing each day with another small item. With all employees having this ‘continuous improvement’ mindset, the results are not only visible, but sustainable.
    You will hear of “Kaizen Blitzes”. Are you familiar with the term ‘oxymoron’? Kaizen is steady, incremental, grass roots level improvement. A ‘blitz’ is anything but. Typically, there is much excitement, an influential executive shows up to stress the importance, a bunch of people swoop into an area and clean it up – called “The 5 S’s”, except they usually make it through the first 2 before losing monentum in their 2 day “blitz”. Then about 90 days later, that area is back on the schedule for another “kaizen blitz”. It’s rather like a sugar rush when you’re trying to run a marathon. It feel sgood for about 10 minutes and then you crash.
    Pick up a copy of “Lean Thinking” by Womack and Jones – you’ll find it more approachable up front than a book on TPS.
    Hope this helps…



    Here is another take on Lean and Kaizen – but not from a lecturer (Monden) or a business lecturer (Imai.)
    This following explanation comes from the head of Toyota Japan.
    Lean is not the same as TPS. TPS is based on the pillars of verification and just-in-time.
    Kai-Zen refers to making each step correct (each step of the process.)



    I have always used kaizen blitzes (3-5 day focused event) to move the orgnization along the Lean path (synonmous with TPS).  The culture you are trying to create is the continual incremental change (kaizen culture).
    LEAN does fit itself into the Transactional workplace, but you have to massage it a little & at times bend (not break) the rule a bit.  Study what TPS/LEAN is truly built on as a base (leveling & stability), once you achieve that, you will find the pillars will be much easier to implement.
    In your particular situation (transactional gemba), if you pursue the Kaizen blitzes, I would strongly suggest you require 4-6 weeks of pre-work that follows a DMA (of the DMAIC) format and use the blitz to complete the Analyze, Improve & Control, plus make sure your team consists of various levels of the organization(s) along with a key IT/IS person for implementation.


    6Sigma Newbie

    We do 5 day- 10 days Kaizen events where DMAIC ppl is used along with 5S on a specific business process and specific goal in our organisation.
    In my mind, a Kaizen is a mini DMAIC project with a quickly achievable goal (usually low hanging fruits).
    Hope this helps..

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