We heard an interesting quote recently, "being the change, changes the being." This really rings true for us as we've begun using Kaizen, otherwise known as "small changes" or "lean transformations based on the Toyota Production System model" here at Graphica Inc. Since we're seeing some truly transformative results, we're excited to share Kaizen with others out there who may also benefit from it.
Kaizen was first introduced to the U.S. business world in 1985. In a nutshell, it's all about "reducing waste, creating measurable results, developing people and enhancing customer delight" (http://us.kaizen.com). There's a funny thing about Kaizen though. Once you begin, you see "wastes" everywhere. You also notice that you too are changing in small ways as you change and improve the processes around you. If you find yourself feeling anxious or upset, regularly not getting as much done as you want to, or simply spending much of your day searching for things, then keep on reading. You (or your company) just may be due for a Kaizen intervention.
There are seven "wastes" defined within Kaizen. Toyota has technically named them: Overproduction, Transportation, Motion, Waiting, Processing, Inventory and Defect. Interestingly, these wastes can easily be applied to any type of business, not just manufacturing companies like Toyota. To quote one of our clients, Kaas Tailored, who has become fully enmeshed in Kaizen over the last several years, "waste is any activity that clients are unwilling to pay for. Eliminate waste and everybody wins – clients get better products at a lower cost; employees receive the joy that they deserve from a day's work; ownership is rewarded with top and bottom line growth."
If you are intrigued, we highly advise reaching out to one of us to learn more or attending a Waste Tour at the Kaas Tailored facility in Mukilteo. For more info and to sign-up go to: http://www.kaastailored.com/Tours/Waste-Tours.aspx. As we become skilled in Kaizen we’re discovering other organizations we work with, such as Seattle Children's Research Institute who are also achieving enviable results with these methods. We’ve begun to collaborate and share our combined knowledge. Truth be told, practicing Kaizen regularly can dramatically impact your business, your clients and your own life for the better. After a mere nine months we’re definitely already seeing direct results. We hope we’ve piqued your curiousity!