Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning “to heal, change for the good”. Conceptually, it is the practice of improving yourself or a process by taking small incremental, daily actions. This then creates permanent habits and eventually leads to success.
This method, especially used in the Japanese industry, became widespread internationally after the Second World War. In Forbes’ Jack Kelly’s article, it is said that this method was introduced to the Japanese to help the Americans rebuild the Japanese economy after World War II, although most sources say that the Japanese came up with the idea and later spread to America. Although it is a matter of debate who first came up with the idea, it is undisputed that Japan has made great progress in this regard. Especially when it comes to kaizen, Toyota, which comes to mind and is heard the most, was one of the first communities to apply kaizen to speed up the production process. This method, which is applied to all employees in the company, has enabled Toyota factories to have a low-cost, fast and less faulty production process. Production was stopped at any time in order to solve a problem for those working with the Kaizen method or to make suggestions to the management on how to reduce waste and increase efficiency. Then, after changing or eliminating the factor that created the problem, its possible consequences on people were taken into account. Thanks to this method used, Toyota has become one of the car companies with the highest performance and the fewest construction errors in the world.
So, How Can We Use the Kaizen Technique in Our Personal Lives?
Kaizen is not a process improvement method used only for production processes. It is a method that can be used in all areas of life. We can also use the Kaizen method in our daily lives thanks to the PICP cycle.
To explain the PICP cycle, it is as follows: Plan, implement, control, take action.
In the planning (P) phase, you can take notes by setting concrete goals for yourself.
In the Implementation (I) phase, a calendar can be created by collecting the target-oriented data determined in the P phase.
In the Check (C) phase, the data collected in the I phase is analyzed and its consistency with the original target is checked. If the desired target has not been achieved, you can get to the root of the problem by investigating the reasons. (Minimalism: the less you buy, the happier you are)
In the prevention (P) phase, if what was done in the P phase gave good results, there was a process improvement, but if the desired target was not achieved until this stage, some adjustments can be made and re-inspected. Thanks to this cycle, you can do small daily activities as a habit or even postponed activities that were planned to be done but could not be done much more easily. In the long run, you can reach your desired goals by increasing your quality of life with small, ever-increasing improvements.