KAIZEN™ implementation at Brand ID, Finland

How can you involve your employees in the development of your company? The answer is KAIZEN™. KAIZEN™ is part of the Lean philosophy and refers to Continuous Improvement.

Lite bättre. Always a little better. This famous quote was uttered by the Swedish coach Curt Lindström after Finland won the Ice Hockey World Championship in 1995, an event that shaped the entire nation. A similar principle had already been adopted on the other side of the world decades earlier. “KAIZEN™” is Japanese and means “change for the better”. In Brand ID’s case, for even better. However, the Lean concept was not adopted by Western countries until 1991.

KAIZEN™ is an authentic Lean management method, which aims for the overall improvement of operations by identifying and eliminating waste from business processes. The purpose of KAIZEN™ is to involve everyone, everywhere, every day.

Efficiency does not mean rushing: the result is an improved work environment to which the employees themselves have contributed. The employees are more motivated, which leads to improved performance and customer satisfaction among other things. At Brand ID, development has been fairly rapid.

Already after a couple of months, Brand ID’s production teams were monitoring their own performance without the help of an external consultant. The KAIZEN™ virus has hit the company, which can be seen in small, daily improvements, says Kimmo Järvinen, the Managing Director of Kaizen Institute Finland, who introduced the KAIZEN™ methodologies to Brand ID.

Improved quality, faster deliveries

Lean methods are gradually applied to daily operations. The methods improve quality and the security of supply. When Lead Times and lines become shorter, things get done faster and flexibility increases.

Lean methods also improve internal organisation, which helps companies to better respond to customers’ requirements, for example, in terms of speed of delivery. Processes are also simplified, which reduces quality risks. All of these also contribute to the company’s cost efficiency and ability to grow.

At Brand ID, the KAIZEN™ philosophy is incorporated into the company’s current operating model. In addition to the production units, the Lean philosophy has also been adopted by Brand ID’s design, sales and management teams. The Lean model became widely known through a production method that led to Toyota’s success, where the aim is to deliver greater value to customers with fewer resources. This is also the guiding principle of Brand ID’s Lean revolution.

The first steps to improvement create demand for the next steps, thus creating a positive cycle. The involvement and inclusion of people is the key to a successful cultural change. The steps may become larger and the pace of improvement may accelerate. Toyota did not become so successful by chance, says Järvinen.

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