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A.      Kaizen is a Japanese term that is typically referred to as continuous improvement or creation of a system of continuous improvement in quality, technology,processes, culture, productivity, safety, and leadership.

B.      Kaizen isconsidered as one of the driving forces behind Toyota’s journey to excellence.

C.      This was a result of Toyota’s success in establishing plans to sustain and further improve a desirable level of performance and to prevent degradation and loss of lean momentum.

D.      Deploying a Kaizen effort or plan in a company implies working continuously for improvement in all facets of operation.

E.       Kaizen is based on making little changes on a regular basis (i.e., always improving productivity, safety, and effectiveness and reducing waste). These continual small improvements add up to major benefits. They result in improved productivity, improved quality, better safety, faster delivery, lower costs, and greater customer satisfaction.

F.       Kaizen application encompasses many of the components of lean culture, such as quality circles, training, suggestion systems, preventive maintenance, and JIT philosophy.

G.     The deployment of continuous improvement effort with Kaizen can be best coordinated using a PDCA (plan, do, check, and act) cycle.

H.      The PDCA cycle was developed by Walter Shewhart a pioneering statistician who developed statistical process control at Bell Laboratories in the United States during the 1930s.

I.        The approach was then proposed and used by William Edwards Deming in the 1950s.

J.        Coordinating continuous improvement plans with a PDCA cycle involves four stages: planning for improvement, doing or executing improvement actions, checking the implications of improvement actions, and making effective permanent actions toward improvement.

K.      The cyclical nature of PDCA captures the intended refinement and improvement essence of Kaizen.

L.       The Kaizen cycle can be viewed as a PDCA cycle having four steps:

1)      Establishing a plan of improvement changes

2)      Carrying out changes on a small scale

3)      Observing and evaluating the results of the changes proposed

4)      Implementing the approved changes on a large scale