What is Kaizen (Continuous Improvement)?

Kaizen is a philosophy that focuses on implementing activities that continuously improve business operations over time. It is derived from two Japanese words: kai, or change, and zen, or good. Together, the words translate to continuous improvement.

The term first gained prominence in 1986, when Masaaki Imai, organizational theorist, and management consultant, wrote Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success.

Improvement in workplace productivity is seen as a gradual process involving every employee, from CEOs to assembly line workers. Kaizen makes the workplace more efficient and productive by creating a team atmosphere, improving day-to-day operations, and boosting employee engagement.

Today, it is recognized as a fundamental component of lean manufacturing, a production method aimed at minimizing waste while maximizing productivity.

Learn more about what is kaizen as we cover the following topics below: