Common Mistakes Companies Make When Using the Kaizen Approach

Apr 11, 2017

kaizen approach

It is in the best interest of every operating business to make profits at the end of each business day. As a result, these institutions take advantage of the methodologies and techniques that optimize their profits to the maximum. Some of these approaches include risk reduction, improvements in operations, building on quality management systems, among others that are availed by Ledge Inc.

Kaizen approach is a Japanese belief on productivity. It exists to assist organizations to perform their tasks in an orderly and organized manner. In simple terms, Kaizen approach means constant and gradual improvement. It is an approach that uses risk-based thinking. It suits well anyone, everyone, anywhere and at any job environment. It is a basic way of thought and organization of things from your way of working; to the way your institution works.

The Kaizen approach, if well applied, leads to ultimate success. It makes emphasis on total quality improvement that will assist an organization to meet its set objectives and goals successfully, leading to increased rewards and positive business developments. However, some mistakes may be made while undertaking the approach in many organizations as highlighted below.



It involves the comparison of the performance processes of one business with that of another, identifying those that are best, adopting them, and practicing them with the aim to improve. Many companies engage in this process without adequate prior preparation and with only a rough idea of what to expect and do with the information they gather. They conduct the process as if in a tour which lacks precise definitions and measures. They use it as a risk-based thinking mechanism rather than as an essential force of development.


Standard Work

Standard work envelops the framework that turns opportunities to lucrative tasks through identification of variability factors. Work standards in most companies are fixed and stagnated which is all wrong. It turns workers into robots who blindly follow laid down instructions. With growth in products or process knowledge, the firm’s standards are bound to change as well. Companies with high regulations face ample challenges while reconciling both their work standards and systems.


Total Productive Maintenance

It encompasses practices that are formulated to improve equipment efficiency and availability, quality improvement and increased output. Companies uphold it as an improvement initiative for particular departments and not the whole firm. They also fail to use the development gauge to evaluate the companies’ operations.


Value Stream Maps

These are geographical representations of all steps involved in a process. It makes use of symbols to represent activities that are value added and non-value-added. They spot out wastes in the production process. These companies believe that by reducing their waste levels that reduce their costs. They also hold the notion that their current value stream is similar to their future value stream, which is not the case. Also, they assume that their performance stream is independent and it is not affected by the flows of the global market.


Continuous Flow

Companies believe that mass production reduces the cost of producing. It is risk-based thinking that campaigns for a single unit continuous production that is done on customers’ demand. These firms disregard their production mix and apply the approach’s pre-determined combinations, which collide and lead to failure. They also fail to emphasize on the assessment of their proposed operation value leading to irrelevance in operation.


New knowledge leads to system improvements. Through mistakes, the new knowledge is developed speeding up the learning process of companies in turn, instigating continuous improvements.

Looking to improve your Continuous Improvement Process or Quality Management System? Contact Ledge today for assistance.


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Adam Marsh

Adam Marsh

President, Ledge Inc.

Adam is a Penn State engineer that has served as a Data Analyst and Engineer at St. Onge Company for 5 years, prior to establishing Ledge Inc. While maintaining a focus on simple solutions, Ledge Inc. has provided quality system implementation, process design, database development, quality tools, quality training, and data analysis to over 35 companies in South Central Pennsylvania and throughout the country. Adam currently serves as the sitting Chair for American Society for Quality Harrisburg Section 503 and as a member of the board for The Manufacturers’ Associations of South Central PA.



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