The biggest industries in the world are known to practice the Japanese concept of Kaizen. But can a small business take advantage of this proven method?
Kaizen is a Sino-Japanese word for “improvement”. It’s a business concept that focuses on continuously improving all functions and employees, from the CEO to the assembly line workers. It has been successfully applied in various sectors like healthcare, life coaching, government, banking, and psychotherapy.
But while your small business may not have assembly line workers or even a lot of machines and tools, you can still take advantage of Kaizen. In fact, organizations of any size can benefit from Kaizen. Here’s how.
Identify Business Processes to Improve
The first step to implement Kaizen in your small business is to identify the major business processes you can improve. While identifying processes is much easier in industries like manufacturing, it’s safe to say that every business has something worth improving, whether it’s a brick-and-mortar coffee business or an online website like Omnia Indian Casino.
While look for the said processes, remember to focus your magnifying glass on all levels of processes — daily, weekly, and monthly businesses. Performing this step is also a good time to document your processes orderly. It’s risky to rely on a single person to hold all the expertise on the business’ processes.
Once you get those processes down on paper, you can sit down with your team to make obvious changes that weren’t so obvious when the processes were abstract. You can look for new, better processes while eliminating old, antiquated processes that take a toll on the company’s time and cost.
Kaizen is Dependent on Teamwork
As mentioned above, Kaizen aims to improve both processes and individuals in a company. This means that all employees need to contribute and dedicate themselves to its implementation. Therefore, you need to ask yourselves if your workplace is a safe place for employees who offer ideas and constructive criticism.
If not, you need to start making changes to bring the Kaizen approach to your business. You can start by encouraging them to find creative solutions for the processes and assignments they come in contact regularly. Also, give your employees a greater degree of freedom to fix the issues that they come across. Finally, celebrate even the smallest wins to foster a culture of continuous improvement.
Pay Attention to Small Details
While yes, you and your team should look for major improvements to everything in the business, small details matter more than you think. For example, a don’t ignore a small improvement suggested by an employee that could cut power usage by just 5%. This small change may translate into less wastage and bigger profits over time, as 5% can add up to a big number.
In the context of app-related or SaaS (Software as a Service) products, by making small changes in the code, your app could run with less storage per user, less memory, or demand less processing power from you, which can, in turn, lead to big cost reductions for the company.
Make Continuous Improvement a Part of Your Company Culture
The concept of Kaizen means continuous improvement, not “quarterly meetings to discuss new strategies”. It’s important that you make Kaizen a part of company’s ongoing culture. Rather than limiting it to when you the need for new processes arises, make it a part of your and your employees’ everyday work.
For that, you’ll need to kill the “no” culture and promote a “yes” culture. A no culture looks at everything in a pessimistic light and deems even doable things impossible. A yes culture, on the other hand, is a forerunner for the success of the Kaizen philosophy for any small business.