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Daily Kaizen, Beyond the Event

The Fieldbook is primarily about kaizen events and the related multi-phase standard work. However, the event, really more kaikaku (Japanese for radical improvement) than kaizen, does not, cannot, and should not replace true kaizen -- small, cumulative continuous improvements.

The most effective delivery mechanism for small continuous improvement is daily kaizen (see definition at right). But, this does not mean that an organization must choose one over the other. The reality is that daily kaizen and kaizen events are synergistic. As reflected in the figure below, we must do BOTH. Of course, the balance or mix of the two evolves as the enterprise navigates the lean transformation path.

Events, properly planned and executed, drive tremendous, sustainable results, "prime" the organization for further lean learning and deployment and establish a foundation and capability for daily kaizen. The typically heavy initial emphasis on kaizen events during a lean implementation effort must eventually give way to an emphasis on daily kaizen application with its grassroots process focus and cultural and performance transforming activities.