The Hamilton City Council celebrated the completion of the first phase of their KAIZEN™ journey at the end of November 2014. During the celebration event at the council buildings the candidates presented the improvements their teams have made during this 12-month period. The commitment and enthusiasm from these teams showcased what can be achieved when people are starting to grasp the KAIZEN™ approach and subsequently leading their teams on the Continuous Improvement pathway.
KAIZEN™ requires strong leadership, constant motivation, discipline and the forming of a team spirit based on Lean habits. Without these foundations it will be doomed to fail. Lean needs to be sustained, even during the tough times and busy periods in the organisation. Lean is not optional if an organisation wants to become efficient and be the benchmark in their sector. Neither is it just a project to be completed in a year or two. KAIZEN™ is the way we manage, the way we produce, the way we service the requirements of customers. It is not something we think about and discuss once a month during a meeting; it is the way we think, act and feel in the work place. It becomes part of the unconsciousness of the KAIZEN™ practitioner. It becomes “second nature” to change things for the better (the root meaning of the Japanese word “kaizen”.)
Masaaki Imai, founder of the Kaizen Institute, stated during our recent Japan study tour that an organisation has reached Lean maturity when he sees staff members spontaneously doing problem solving at the gemba. He also said that another sign is the continuous flow of materials and information. To achieve this Lean maturity it is critical to create a KAIZEN™ culture by daily applying the Lean methodology and by respecting people.
A culture is self-sustaining in the sense that people follow the behavioural, emotional and thought patterns that have been formed within this specific society (whether it is a city, a family, a country, or an organisation.) Poor results, bad customer service, wasteful processes are usually embedded in a poor culture. KAIZEN™ is the way we improve the culture in an organisation that will enable and sustain top results, excellent customer satisfaction and user-friendly processes.
If these newly KAIZEN™ certified people keep on improving their work every day, everywhere, Lean maturity can be reached. Never stop improving. Never, ever look for excuses why continuous improvements can’t be made and sustained. Find ways to keep on becoming better at what you are doing every day.
The Kaizen Institute New Zealand wants to congratulate the following staff members who complied with the criteria of our globally recognised and sought-after KAIZEN™ Practitioner certification: Mathew Bayliss, Atul Sharma, Bex Paulsen, Tim Coxhead, Matthew Bell, Jessica Robertson, Karin Barclay, and Sue Danner. On top of this certification eleven KAIZEN™ Ability certificates were also presented on the day.