Anyone interested in continuous improvement should be thoroughly displeased with how kaizen has been so effectively separated from Lean. It seems that most people simply don’t care about kaizen these days. That’s just terrible.
Oddly, disinterest in kaizen is fueled by interest in Lean tools. Yet, many Lean tools are derived from kaizen itself or from the mind of those who have deep experience with, and, therefore, deep understanding of kaizen. Tools and methods whose mother is kaizen include:
- Lean Product and Process Development
- Production Preparation Process (3P)
- A3 Reports
- Value Stream Maps
- Gemba Walks
The popular Toyota improvement and coaching katas are also derived from kaizen (and martial arts) thinking.
I feel that Mother Kaizen is disrespected when all the interest and all the praise goes to her children.
The question I have is this: If you like all those kaizen-derived tools, then why don’t you practice kaizen? If you practiced kaizen – traditional, industrial engineering-based kaizen – you would learn the context and proper application of each of the kaizen-derived tools and methods. From those experiences, you would learn how to make many improvements more quickly – and you might even create a useful new tool or method!