Two Approaches To Progress and
gradualist approach (favored by Japanese companies):
great-leap-forward approach (favored by Western companies)
Competitive Advantage: USA vs.
U.S. and Japanese companies use quite different
Comparative strengths and advantage of U.S. and
Japanese firms are:
The motto of U.S. firms: "It's not the
big that eat the small... it's the fast that eat the slow."
Jason Jennings and Laurence Haughton)
The motto of Japanese firms: "O snail,
climb Mount Fuji with no hurry."
(a haiku by Issa)...
Competitive Strategies: 2 Types
– Japanese Strategy of Continuous Improvement
Kaizen means "improvement". Kaizen
strategy calls for never-ending efforts for improvement involving everyone
in the organization – managers and workers alike.
Kaizen is an integral part of
corporate culture. It requires
continuous both conscious and sub-conscious thinking about improvements from
everyone. Nurturing and effectively integrating Kaizen into corporate
culture is not easy. It requires a sustained effort. But, as
Toyota has demonstrated, it offers a more
sustainable competitive advantage...
Toyota Production System (TPS)
Implementation of Kaizen
Strategy: 7 Conditions
One of the most difficult aspects of
introducing and implementing
strategy is assuring its continuity.
When a company introduces something new,
quality circles, or
quality management (TQM), it experiences some initial success, but
soon such success disappear like fireworks on summer night and after a
while nothing is left, and management keeps looking for a new flavor of
Areas Targeted by TQM in Japan
This if because the company lacks the first
most important conditions
for the successful introduction and implementation of Kaizen strategy...
Kaikaku and Kaizen
Kaikaku is breakthrough rapid improvement,
radical improvement of any activity, in particular to remove waste (or
'muda'). Kaikaku is also known as Breakthrough Kaizen, Kaizen Blitz, Flow
Kaizen and System Kaizen. Kaikaku is about large rapid improvement, similar
innovation, though innovation is not necessary for Kaikaku.
Kaikaku is sought in addition to Kaizen, not in
place of Kaizen. Kaikaku is a rapid change event as opposed to Kaizen which
is smaller incremental improvements. Kaikaku is revolutionary while Kaizen
is evolutionary. When approaching a problem situation, it might require
radical improvement to start with (Kaikaku), then be continuously improved
The Japanese success in world
markets was focused less on products innovation than on innovative
productivity and marketing. Creative
thinking led to
small, but highly powerful, improvements.
Yin-Yang of Entrepreneurial Creativity
Case in Point
Canon employees are offering around 50
improvement ideas per year per employee.
Canon plants, the foremen are told to set aside the half-hour as
Kaizen time – time to do nothing but thinking improvement in the
workshop. The foremen use this period to identify problems and work
on Kaizen programs.
Each Canon employee receives a 55-page
pocket-size CPS Notebook that explains the CPS, how to get Kaizen
targets, and the award system. These CPS Notebooks also have special
pages entitled "My Self-Development Goals – Method, Tools, and
Investment" to be filled in by the worker...