Friday, September 4, 2009

Kaizen.. really?

It is so fashionable to speak of Kaizen! Everybody seems to be an expert on this. At corporate dinner parties, during expert-talks, in campuses- wherever you look, people seem to be certain of the idea that Kaizen is definitely something they must harp upon. It will get them noticed. It does.

But how many actually put the true spirit of "KAIZEN" into practice? Not even 1 in 10 brands I know of.*

What is Kaizen? It is a policy of making incremental improvements on a daily basis. You do a process, and realise there is something that can be tweaked for a better performance. So you tweak it the next time. You institutionalise this tweaking-process, and make it a part of your work. That is Kaizen.

The grand (and correct) idea behind this is that over time, the small improvements made on a daily basis add upto big improvements that can be industry changing from several perspectives.

So far so good. But are there really shining examples of Kaizen? Honestly, very few. Let me list one name - a service that always surprises me with their almost daily "tweakings" that I experience as a user.


I am amazed at the improvements they make regularly. From improvements in user-interface, to faster "accept request" protocols, to improved visual displays of pending invitations' list - they just seem to be maniacally at getting the product to be a perfect solution. And it was one of the most thoughtfully designed services to begin with.

This company truly is a role-model for all those who wish to learn how Kaizen can generate customer delight. But you need to use the service for sometime to realise this. (I am sure there will be many more shining examples of Kaizen in practice, but this is the one that influenced me due to my usage pattern.)

Young readers / students - learn from this. Try to build this habit into your routine. Make a daily target of at least 1 improvement in your work /study practices, howsoever small it may be. Over 1 year, that will be 365 improvements.

Will love to hear from all of you on this!

* There are many reasons for this - organisational apathy, lack of top management's vision and push, poor work-culture, lack of discipline, poor self-esteem in workers, customer apathy etc.



saurabh said...

Dear Sir, gained good knowledge.

saurabh said...

Dear Sir, great learning

Unknown said...

Respected Sir,
Good morning.
In our life we go through various activities on daily basis and from them we learn how to eliminate our mistakes. One example of such learning is difference between use of "sir" and "Sir".
I read in a book there are nothing like mistakes in our life because every mistake proceed us to improve our work on next turn.
Vineet Patel

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,
Good Morning!

As you rightly said that Kaizen is the right way to improve ourselves. It is small improvement but after at certain time, we can see the impact of it.

We can take example of our PT walk. We started it from just one round at first day and daily increasing by one or two.

I am really impressed at improvement of the services provided by google or I can say the whole world is impressed by google.

Some days before I noticed that in the search result by google, there are three buttons below the every search result i.e. comment, promote and remove. A feature by google by that we can comment, promote and remove on our search result. It will also make impact on search engine optimazation (SEO).
Very user friendly and attractive services by google like igoogle, docs, blogs, books, scholar, maps, images etc. Functions and usability of services by google are incomparable such as drag-drop option in gmail and chrome browser. In chrome browser the tabs are made very user friendly we can drag it, we can separate it to new window and many more.
Many times competition gives more choices and services to customer.

What a such great services provided by google!

Hulesh Sahu

Manoj Joshi said...

Dear Sir,thanks for giving insight about Kaizen.
*It was a new word for me,to know about and after reading your blog i am courious to know more about Kaizen.Thanks for giving me a word to read more about
*Sir i am also a new reader of blog as well as i am still learning to work on internet,so sir i kindly request you to please point out my mistakes so that i can work on it.
Manoj Joshi

Anonymous said...

Respected Sir,this facility of the blogs which you are providing is really very good its like a value addition to my knowledge
thanks for the insight
Aaradhna singh

Praveen Patidarr said...

"Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions." - Anonymous

Dear Teacher/ Mentor,
Wish you a wonderful Happy Teacher's Day! Thank you for your care and concern you have provided for us. It will be deeply etched in out hearts. Thank you for everything.

Praveen Patidar

Chetan Choparia said...

Respected Sir, Nice to read this!
Kaizen approach is required for success, but if we talk about a person than his work and study practices are affected by several factors that may be unknown to him than how to identify that factors and work on them ?

Chetan Choparia
Indore Campus

Amit Nayak said...

Dear Sir, Great Insight.
By reading this blog i came to know that it is very important to "walk the talk"

Ashu Barjatya said...

Respected Sir,
Great One!
The Japanese word "kaizen" means simply "improvement," with no inherent meaning of either "continuous" or "Japanese philosophy"; the word refers to any improvement, one-time or continuous, large or small, in the same sense as the mundane English word "improvement".
Is this true for our life also.
What does "tweak" means sir?

Thanks & Regards
Ashu Barjatya (Proton-Indore)

Unknown said...

Hello Sir, Nice to read this!
"Kaizen" earlier it is used only for opearation process like manufacturing companies but it is commonly known term now a days.
One other term which could be the outcome or implication of this "kaizen" is "Yoka-Poke" which means zero error or zero defect.All philosophy are now a days using not only to the manufacturing companies but in other companies as well.
Pushpendra Sinha

Unknown said...

Dear Sir,
Kaizen is a new concept for me and i found it quintessential to achieve the transformation that we all protons seek and are craving for. Today after reading your blog, i tend to believe that we will learn a lot and instill a real positive change in our lives.

Yours sincerely,
Munish Sharma
Fall 09, Indore.

Khushboo said...

Dear Sir,
What ever insights you are given to us is fruitful but sir problem is that I am not able to remember all this things.It is hard for me to remember.Sir please give some insights how to remember things.

Khushboo Kabra

Ankur Verma said...

Respected Sir,
It was nice to receive such beautiful thoughts on 'Kaizen'. When I went through this blog one example that come to my mind is the private radio stations that are running these days. This private radio stations takes feedback from the general public and they keep on experimenting new techniques and ideas inorder to entertain the customers.
Proton Ankur verma
Fall 2008 PGP2

Vidit Shah said...

Dear Sir,
Thanks for sharing such a wonderful word "Kaizen". I will surely start implementing it from today itself.

DIVYESH said...

Dear Sir, I will definitely try this theory and upgrade myself.
Sir this is first time I am reading a blog.
Proton Divyesh.S.Shah

Yashwant said...

Respected Sir,
Thank you for enlightening us; i determine that i will implement these learning in my life.

"Happy Teacher's day"

रोज सुबह मिलते है इनसे , क्या हमको करना है,
ये बतलाते है ।
ले के तस्वीरें इन्सानों की ,सही गलत का भेद हमें,
ये बतलाते है ।
कभी ड़ांट तो कभी प्यार से ,कितना कुछ हमको ,
ये समझाते है ।
है भविष्य देश का जिन में ,उनका सबका भविष्य ,
ये बनाते है ।
है रगं कई इस जीवन में,रगों की दुनिया से पहचान
, ये करवाते है ।
खो ना जाये भीड़ में कहीं हम ,हम को हम से ही ,
ये मिलवाते है ।
हार हार के फिर लड़ना ही जीत है सच्ची, ऐसा एहसास, ये करवाते है ।
कोशिश करते रहना हर पल , जीवन का अर्थ हमें ,
ये बतलाते है ।
देते है नेक मज़िल भी हमें , राह भी बेहत्तर हमे ,
ये दिखलाते है ।
देते है ज्ञान जीवन का , काम यही सब है इनका ,
ये शिक्षक कहलाते है ।

Thanks for being my Teacher!

Yashwant Chandrawanshi

Prajaktta Inamdar said...

Dear Sir,
Good Evening!
Till today I came across this word "Kaizen" quite many times,but I never really sat and pondered over it.Thank you so much for adding on to my knowledge.But i would like to ask you,can the concept really be followed in our day-to day life.By this I mean to say,we read and listen to so many inspirational thoughts but hardly do we inculcate these values/ideas in our lives.Could you Please suggest me how to go about it.
Warm regards.
Prajakta Inamdar.
Indore(Fall 2009)

Prajaktta Inamdar said...

Dear Sir,
Good Evening!
I have come across the word "Kaizen" quite many times till today,but I never really sat and pondered over it.Thank you so much for adding on to my knowledge.But i would like to ask you if this concept really is as easy to follow as said??By this I mean to say,we read and listen to so many inspirational thoughts in our day-to-day life,but hardly do we inculcate these values/ideas in ourselves.Could you please suggest me how to go about it?
Warm Regards.
Prajakta Inamdar

Deepesh Baghela said...

Respected Sir,

Good Morning. Happy Teacher's day sir.

I am applying KAIZEN for improving my communication skills. Every day I listen others carefully and adopt good things in my communication.

But i am facing one problem. I am not remembering new words. If i remember then I am not able to apply in daily life communication.

So how can i improve this?

kratikaKT said...

we r lucky tht we r getting this of immence learning 's frm u ..
thank you 4 each and every opportunity.......

Test said...

Saurabh, Vineet, Aaradhana, Amit, Vidit, Munish, Divyesh, Kratika - Thanks for reading! Read daily and keep commenting

Deepesh - start writing down new words, and make sentences with them. With practice, you will remember them.

Prajakta - start putting ONLY 1 good idea (howsoever simple) in practice on a daily basis. That's all you need to do.

Yashwant - your poem was so touching, and delightful. Thanks!

Ankur - the private radio stations' example is more of customer-feedback related. They take feedback, and maybe introduce new programs etc. Kaizen is about making improvements to "existing" processes.

Sunny - Yoka-poke is a good example!

Ashu - "tweak" means to change a little, after observing.

Chetan - set a certain goal. When you are unable to meet it, think what all went wrong. Identify those factors which are visible. Stop worrying about what's not visible.

Praveen - that was quite touching. Best wishes!

Manoj - keep doing this daily. You will start improving slowly. In an year's time, see the difference!

Hulesh - you are right. Google is fanatically at it.

Bhupendra said...

Dear Sandeep Sir ,

"Happy Teacher's day"

As always this post is very insightful and inspirses improve and expose us to new and powerful ideas.

Whenever i get caught in some dilema/doubt/disbelief i try to think what my teacher would have said.

I'm lucky to be taught by some great teachers of my time : Moreshwar Abhyankar Sir, Deepak Pathak Sir and You.

Some of your quotes i can never forget :

"What one man can do another can do"
"Efforts alone are of no use,Results must follow them",
"Kaam ki adadat hai ki woh karnay say he hota hai"

Things i got exposed to after GK lecture was truly life transforming, those lecture were aptly said Life Transforming

But as morpheus said :"I can only show you the door you have to walk through it"

"i still struggle to completely read full weekly edition of Economist, though i am religiously following it since 2005"

I have become more of an enthusiast of it and insisted my friends and collegue to read it to gain new perspective.

I'm very delighted to find you online : twitter, blog and linkedin
and regularly following your articles.

Thank you for all your teachings
Bhupendra Singh
PT ALUMNI (2005 -2006)
Software Engineer HSBC GLT

Neeraj Upadhyay said...

Thank you sir
It was really nice to refresh our learning we gained from Prof. Manas Fuloria

Test said...

Dear Niraj - that's called validation and reinforcement. Good to hear that happened.

Dear Bhupendra - Hi! It is so nice to hear from a PT alumni doing good, and staying in touch. You have remembered some of the most powerful things we shared - "What one man can do another can do",
"Efforts alone are of no use,Results must follow them", and "Kaam ki adadat hai ki woh karnay say he hota hai". I thank you for your kind wishes, and wish you the best for your future! Keep reading, keep commenting!

Kar ke dikhayenge

Sunny Waswani said...

Dear Sir,Happy Teacher's Day
Nice to read this!
Sir, can we also take the example of Google as Google also try to improve upon it's services on regular basis.
Sunny Waswani
Spring 09

Akshay Kothari said...

Respected Sir,
Happy Teacher's day!
Sir i have Discovered a new Alphabet for the Article about U,V W Recovery we discussed in the Economist Session.Adding with your Perception about the Economy i think We can have "M" shape in coming Future ...and the V shape about which ECONOMIST is talking about is somewhere Hidden in that "M".Started with Growth -Fall-Growth-????. And i think that M fill be completed with the Last severe Downturn expected.
PROTON Akshay Kothari

LOVISH said...

Dear Sir,
This was a Wonderful Topic you picked up.Thank you Sir for sharing your knowledge.I promise that we are going to implement each and every word of yours and you are right about Kaizen.But Sir just Want to ask you one thing that improvising every day on one aspect is a good idea,but sir how to handle daily some of the domotivating factors which comes in path.

Thank you Sir.

Samrat Nema said...

Respected Sir,
The idea about Kaizen is pretty good.I gained some more knowledge about this practice.

Thank You Sir,
Samrat Nema
(Kanter Hall)