Updated: Nov 14, 2022
“Quality begins when everybody in the organization commits to never sending rejects or imperfect information to the next process.” - Masaaki Imai
Gemba Kaizen is the Japanese concept of continuous improvement with the focus on improving processes and reducing waste. An organization embracing this concept is constantly striving to improve its processes and believes the practices in place for solving problems are more valuable than the solutions themselves.
So how does this relate to project management & Echo? Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning "change for the better”, at Echo, nothing excites us more than being able to analyze systems & processes of an organization and make quantitative recommendations for improvement. This includes improving everyday procedures, efficiency, effectiveness, or providing training to develop the skills necessary to problem-solve.
The first principle of Gemba Kaizen is problem identification. Once identified, you are able to collectively work to problem solve and implement a solution. At Echo, we ask each member if a team to label the problems they think may arise throughout a project so we can mitigate these risks before they can escalate.
One of the concepts that stands out the most is that big results come from many small changes accumulated over time. At Echo, we whole heartily believe this to be true. That we must look at the entire ecosystem of a company and make changes throughout to have the greatest impact. This may be through process improvement, communication, or pieces of training.
Often there is a misconception that in order to increase productivity you must layer more systems or steps on to your existing ones. The Gemba Kaizen strategy leads you to greater productivity through elimination. Through asking all members of an organization to analyze current processes and procedures, you are able to identify wasteful elements causing inefficiency to increase your overall productivity. The techniques of Gemba Kaizen can be applied to any type of project and the mindset of Kaizen to any organization to improve processes to reduce waste and maximize value.