DEFINITION of 'Kaizen'

A philosophy that sees improvement in productivity as a gradual and methodical process. Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning "change for the better". The concept of Kaizen encompasses a wide range of ideas: it involves making the work environment more efficient and effective by creating a team atmosphere, improving everyday procedures, ensuring employee satisfaction and making a job more fulfilling, less tiring and safer.


Some of the key objectives of the Kaizen philosophy include the elimination of waste, quality control, just-in-time delivery, standardized work and the use of efficient equipment.

An example of the Kaizen philosophy in action is the Toyota production system, in which suggestions for improvement are encouraged and rewarded, and the production line is stopped when a malfunction occurs.

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