The pursuit of perfection: the KAIZEN approach

KAIZEN is a Japanese philosophical belief that everything can be continuously improved. It is a mindset you can apply anywhere, for any task. 

For companies, the KAIZEN approach systematically seeks to achieve small changes in processes that over time, add up to substantial improvements. These changes reduce business operating overhead by reducing wasted time and effort in the steps taken to produce a product. By applying KAIZEN, ESCATEC streamlines processes, helps ease employee workloads, and adds value to customers’ products.

A LEAN journey

ESCATEC Mechatronics in Johor Bahru, Malaysia recently instigated a program using the KAIZEN approach to help create a lean journey for targeted projects in manufacturing. This program focuses on minimising all the unnecessary steps or resources for specific products to optimise quality, lead-time and productivity.

Since KAIZEN is based on a way of thinking or approach to looking for optimisation, it is essential that all employees are involved and develop the mindset. They must learn to spot and eliminate wasteful steps while carrying out the daily tasks of assembling a product.

With this in mind, dedicated cross-functional teams are given the task to optimise a product or a specifically targeted area within a certain time frame. The teams are encouraged to be confident and create a KAIZEN approach to the project.

Kaizen approachBrainstorm, carry out and see results

The program focuses on small improvements that produce a positive impact on the targeted area within a 5 day work period. Beginning Mondays, the teams are trained, and ending on Fridays when they present results.

At least 4 different Kaizen projects run each week and are carried out on pre-selected production lines. The targeted results for this program are:

  • Optimising of the assembly steps,
  • Achieving measurable results after applying changes and
  • Reducing costs during and after the change has been put into practice.

ESCATEC encourages all its Johor Bahru employees to participate in the program by handing meal vouchers to employees at the end of a successful project. 10 KAIZEN projects have been completed as of mid October. ESCATEC expects 50 KAIZEN projects to be optimised by the time the program is completed in December 2017

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Written by Neil Sharp

Neil has over 25 years’ experience in Electronics Manufacturing Services and Component Distribution. During his career, Neil has held a range of leadership positions in sales, marketing, and customer service. Neil is currently part of the ESCATEC Senior Management Team and is responsible for setting and delivering the overall Group Marketing strategy. Neil heads up the marketing department and is responsible for both the strategy and the implementation of innovative marketing campaigns designed to deliver high quality content to those seeking outsourcing solutions.