Kaizen – how to achieve success in small steps

It is believed that the basis of Toyota’s success on the international market is the use of the Kaizen philosophy every day, in every area of the company.

Let’s see what it is and what are the main assumptions of Kaizen.

What is Kaizen?

It is a philosophy derived from Japanese culture, which assumes gradual improvement every day. It also assumes that all employees will be involved, at all levels. According to Masaaki Imai, one of the creators of TPS, Kaizen can be defined as “improvement every day, every person and everywhere”.

Kaizen types

There are two types of this philosophy. The first employee-oriented, i.e. suggestion system. The second type is team-oriented, i.e. short workshops.


Employee Team
Goal Individual Team
Cost Low cost budget Usually low cost budget
Result New standard Improvement at the workplace
Results presentation To the management board To the supervisor

Main rules

In order to successfully implement this approach, it is helpful to start with the “Go to Gemba” step. Stop theorizing and go to action, see what the problem actually looks like.

Then, use PDCA – the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, which is a motivation for continuous improvement.

Use the 5xWhy tool to look for the root causes of problems, and remember that perfection is a continuous process, so don’t close yourself to the idea that it’s already perfect.

In Kaizen, it is important to use cunning and creativity to find simple and quick solutions, while relying on hard data. In addition, the involvement of all company members is essential – collect ideas from everyone, regardless of position. Throw out excuses and be ready to correct mistakes as you go.

Whatever work you do, remember to do it with humility and respect. It is these values that will make the Kaizen process an effective tool for improvement, leading to continuous growth and improvement of the company.

Kaizen implementation results

All employees establish a new system in which everyone participates and has defined responsibilities. It is thanks to this, among others, that employees become better at solving problems, gaining valuable skills and experience.

What’s more, employees are developing a process-oriented thinking style, which contributes to the efficiency and improvement of activities throughout the organization. And it is this commitment and the ability to think process that become the foundation of success in everyday work.


Undoubtedly, Lean begins with the Kaizen philosophy, which sets a continuous, never-ending path to improvement. The involvement of all employees raises awareness, and solving problems together undoubtedly improves the atmosphere at work.

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