What is kaizen and how does Toyota use it?

Kaizen in action at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK

Discover the 12 other pillars of the Toyota Production System:
Konnyaku Stone
Poka-Yoke
Hansei
Andon
Jidoka 
Just-In-Time
Heijunka
Kaizen
Genchi Genbutsu
Nemawashi
Kanban
Muda, Muri, Mura
Genba

Kaizen is one of the core principles of The Toyota Production System, a quest for continuous improvement and a single word that sums up Toyota’s ‘Always a Better Way’ slogan.

Kaizen (English: Continuous improvement): A philosophy that helps to ensure maximum quality, the elimination of waste, and improvements in efficiency, both in terms of equipment and work procedures. Kaizen improvements in standardised work help maximise productivity at every worksite. Standardised work involves following procedures consistently and therefore employees can identify the problems promptly.

Within the Toyota Production System, Kaizen humanises the workplace, empowering individual members to identify areas for improvement and suggest practical solutions. The focused activity surrounding this solution is often referred to as a kaizen blitz, while it is the responsibility of each member to adopt the improved standardised procedure and eliminate waste from within the local environment.

Kaizen begins in the early designs of a production line and continues through its lifetime of use by a process of consensus known as Nemawashiread our explanation here.

Alternatively, see more about the Toyota Production System in our glossary.

10 comments

    1. Hi,

      As explained in this blog post:

      Kaizen is one of the core principles of The Toyota Production System, a quest for continuous improvement and a single word that sums up Toyota’s ‘Always a Better Way’ slogan.

      Kaizen (English: Continuous improvement): A philosophy that helps to ensure maximum quality, the elimination of waste, and improvements in efficiency, both in terms of equipment and work procedures. Kaizen improvements in standardised work help maximise productivity at every worksite. Standardised work involves following procedures consistently and therefore employees can identify the problems promptly.

      Within the Toyota Production System, Kaizen humanises the workplace, empowering individual members to identify areas for improvement and suggest practical solutions. The focused activity surrounding this solution is often referred to as a kaizen blitz, while it is the responsibility of each member to adopt the improved standardised procedure and eliminate waste from within the local environment.

      Thanks

    1. Hi DJ,
      Thanks for your comment.
      For an explanation of Kaizen, please refer to the blog post above.
      Thanks.

    1. Hi Putin,
      Thanks for getting in touch with us.
      Just-In-Time is described as a ‘pull’ system of providing the different processes in the assembly sequence with only the kinds and quantities of items that they need and only when it needs them. Production and transport take place simultaneously throughout the production sequence — inside and between all the processes.
      You can read more about this here: https://mag.toyota.co.uk/just-in-time/.
      Thanks.

  1. Hello, please I want to know, in terms of statistics, the successes toyota achieved with the implementation of kaizen. I’ll be very grateful if you can help. I need the information for my dissertation. Thanks.

    1. Hi Kobina,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Unfortunately we do not have any statistics to share.
      Thanks.

  2. Driving today in my Auris in very misty with heavy rain could not see cars in front with no lights .my question is having daylight running lights only at the front is useful but why are the rear lights not on at the same time.Can we have the rear lights on as well for safety.
    KAIZEN

    1. Hi Naren,

      If it foggy or misty, we recommend turning the headlights on, this will turn on the rear lights too. You should also use foglights, if equipped.

      Thanks

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