When it comes to making your business more profitable and successful, don't look to re-engineering for answers. A better way is to apply the concept of kaizen, which mean making simple, common-sense improvements and refinements to critical business processes.The result: greater productivity, quality, and profits achieved with minimal cost, time, and effort invested. In this book, you discover how to maximize the results of kaizen by applying it to gembabusiness processes involved in the manufacture of products and the rendering of servicesthe areas of your business where, as the author puts it, the "real action" takes place.
Rarely can an author take credit for changing the way business works, but Imai did just that in 1986, in his native Japan, when he wrote Kaizen (Japanese for "continuous, incremental improvement"). As a result of that book, thousands of businesses made incremental improvement a daily goal. Here, in this straightforward sequel, Imai shows exactly how kaizen should be implemented. The starting point, he argues, is at the gemba ("the place where the real work is done"). The gemba could be the assembly line in a manufacturing plant, or, at a service company, where employees interact with customers. Wherever it is, though, it is definitely not behind a manager's desk. Imai identifies the three major steps in implementing kaizen at the gemba: pay attention to housekeeping (keeping only your necessary tools nearby); eliminate waste (everything from overproduction to defective quality); and standardize (make sure the improvements in the first two steps are carried on indefinitely). The roles for line workers, managers and chief executives are also detailed here, as are numerous case studies that help bring this thought-provoking book to life. (May)