Kaizen is a Japanese word that means “change for better,” and when applied to business activities, seeks to improve processes including logistics and supply chain management continuously. This approach involves every member of the organization, right from the boardroom to the production line, aiming to introduce the best process improvements.
The practice was originally introduced by Japanese businessmen soon after World War II who were influenced by visiting American car manufacturers that were just beginning to set up assembly lines. The businessmen identified many areas with room for improvement and which subsequently became the founding principles of kaizen. These areas included reduction of costs, standardizing processes, eliminating waste and increasing productivity.
One of the main points about the kaizen philosophy is that it implements many small changes to improve the way a company does business. It’s quite different from other concepts where companies will make large changes, seeking the biggest improvements within a very short time. While sometimes this approach works, other times it fails and often because the changes didn’t have the agreement or participation of the entire company.
With kaizen, every worker in the business focuses on making small changes to produce overall improvement within the company. It’s a more desirable approach because all strategies, resources, and innovations are focused on one step of improving processes, achieving the desired level of efficiency before moving onto the next stage. Every employee has input on how to improve processes and increase productivity, and the improvements are continually tested and monitored during the adoption and implementation of the changes. Because every employee has input, they are more likely to understand and accept the changes, and to have the necessary training to create these changes.
Supply chain management is ideal for the kaizen approach because it involves many smaller and larger procedures to keep it running efficiently. When applied to supply chain management, organizations can look at transportation and logistics issues, processing defects, overproduction, and inventory risks. Increased efficiency is developed as a team effort with everyone following four basic steps of assessing, planning, implementing and finally evaluating new processes.
Because there are so many processes, there are numerous opportunities to continuously improve the supply chain, which is essential in today’s competitive market. Kaizen is a straightforward approach allowing companies to focus on specific objectives to achieve overall process improvement, gradually optimizing the supply chain at every stage.
Using MagicLogic BlackBox Software as Part of the Kaizen Approach
Using our software can bring about a “change for the better,” reducing packaging and transportation costs and streamlining packing processes. A trial of our BlackBox software enables companies to thoroughly test and evaluate how the increased efficiency will positively impact their supply chain. We frequently collaborate closely with companies, understanding their processes, and supplying custom solutions.