March 20, 2013 1 Comment
In case you are unfamiliar with the term, Kaizen is a Japanese word that refers to improvement or change for the better. The word has been adapted throughout the business world to encompass the concepts of continuous improvement, flexibility and willingness to innovate in order to improve processes and standards.
Although these concepts are natural considerations within almost all industries, something about labeling them as Kaizen has made them readily understandable even in businesses that are less-focused on continuous improvement.
The idea of constantly re-thinking processes in order to make positive changes often goes against the fundamental core of traditional business models in which finding ways of doing things and sticking with them is the norm.
But, as global competition increases and the workforce changes, many professionals are recognizing the need for innovation and change in all areas of their organizations. The following are just a few ways for smaller businesses and new entrepreneurs to begin to apply the concept to their own ventures.
Staffing and Human Resources
What better way to apply the concept of continuous improvement than by providing continuous education for your staff? Keep your people up to date with the latest information and knowledge to ensure you’re always on top of your game.
The concept can also be applied to your staffing strategies. Continually evaluate your team’s skills and strengths to determine whether you need to change assigned duties, promote certain people and of course find replacements for positions if necessary.
In any business, budget is an essential consideration, but this is especially true for those who are either struggling or just starting out. Absolutely all expenses can be evaluated and modified, so don’t write off certain costs as being unchangeable.
Your elegant rental space, for example, may be interchanged for a less expensive option in a slightly less desirable neighbourhood. Or, you may be able to change your providers of office supplies for better prices. Negotiations with utility companies for better phone and internet packages and finding cheaper products to make your finished merchandise are other ways to save.
Finding better ways of doing things often involves following advice. Perhaps one of the most important first steps of the concept of Kaizen is being open to change and not being too arrogant to listen to others.
Who can tell you how to change your processes for the better? Everyone.
The most obvious would be those you sell to; you need to provide only the best for your paying customers and clients. But, you can also seek advice from colleagues, partners and even competitors.
Your employees also represent a valuable source of information. From top executives down to the lowest-paid hourly workers, each may have excellent insight into how you can make improvements.
When incorporating Kaizen into your business philosophy, remember that the key aspect of the concept is ‘continuous’. The evaluations and considerations for improvement must be regular occurrences, as the business environment itself is in a constant state of evolution and transformation.
Embrace change and seek out ways to improve, and allow Kaizen to work towards your businesses’ success.
This article has been contributed by www.officeallsorts.co.uk, where you can find extensive advice for small businesses and a range of office supplies and furniture.