ASQ Montreal — Had You Been Connected... Kaikaku Before Kaizen (November 2022)



By Jean-Pierre Amiel, ASQ Senior, CQA ret., Secretary, Web committee Chair and Audit Chair. A review of our last event of the year, a webinar the 30th of November 2022 with Albanesa Ymaya, live from the Dominican Republic.

Kaizen Teian, Kaizen Events, Kaikaku, Kakushin
How is your Japanese quality dictionary?

4adda509b94de04b9515cc5e1f26787e-huge-alIt turns out that 76% of the 27 respondents to our quick poll admitted that they had not heard of Kaikaku and that 19% had heard a little about it. Well of course, this meant that our webinar participants had both ears propped up to listen to Albanesa Ymaya explain what this beast was and how it differed from it's better known brother Kaizen. A new concept? No. It's just that we have been more concerned with doing Kaizen events since they are easier to realize and show results sooner.

a1a362a0df302431c743cf934418ef85-huge-kaTo get us started, Albanesa first introduced the terms proposed by Masaaki Ima (considered father of Continuous improvement) as part of his spirit of improvement, and then described the relationships between Kaizen Teian, Kaizen Events, Kaikaku and Kakushin.

She then proceeded to explain the commonalities of both Kaikaku and Kaizen and illustrated their major differences by using extinguishing a fire as the goal — using Kaikaku is like using a fire hose, doing Kaizen events is like using water droplets. With both methods you will reach for the same improvement goal but, bottom line, the effort and time required to realize the goal and the eventual gain, impact and benefits are quite different as shown in the graph. For the three main blocks of a process, the table below summarizes the Kaikaku and Kaizen parameters. Typically the "Inputs" are the same but the differences appear in the "Global Process" and the "Outputs" — the efforts required and benefits obtained.
Inputs Global Process Outputs
Kaizen Kaikuku Kaizen Kaikuku Kaizen Kaikuku
• Leadership support (8-10)
• Training material
• Office supplies
• KPIs Information
• Lean, SME (OpEx leader or trained Kaizen leader)
• Work room as needed
• Food and drinks
• Leadership support (8-10)
• Training material
• Office supplies
• KPIs Information
• Lean, SME (OpEx leader or trained Kaizen leader)
• Work room as needed
• Food and drinks
• Pre-event plan: 15-30 days
• Event development: 3-5 days (8hrs)
• Action plan completion: 30 days, average
• Pre-event plan: 30 days
• Event development: 15 days (120hrs)
• Implementation: 60-180 days, average
• Issue eliminated or improved
• Employee engagement
• Best practices shared
• Employees trained
• Savings/cost reduction
• Improved operational performance
• Stable process
• Improved margin
• Improved flow
• Several projects completed
• Best practices shared
• Employee engagement improved
• Improved behaviours
• Improved culture
• Savings/cost reduction

Albanesa also shared and clarified for us the philosophy she embodies with her clients: to first plan a Kaikaku project and then do Kaizen events so as to support and achieve improvement opportunities.
Her equation for success: KAIKAKU + KAIZEN EVENT + KAIZEN TEIAN + KAKUSHIN = THE REAL LEAN TRANSFORMATION APPROACH. She's a Kaizen type of girl 🤔, no?
As a result, there were many exchanges by the participants, as summarized below:
  • How do you measure the results to know that the initiative gave the expected results? How long do you analyze after implementation? AY: Projects are first selected on the data collected and the evolution of KPIs.
  • How is kaizen and kaikaku different from lean six sigma? Participant: Kaikaku is like multiple focused kaizen events that integrates them. Re-engineering is to do it again but somehow the human component is not usually considered, in the long term it is less effective.
  • What's the difference between kaikaku and breakthrough?
  • How do you achieve the team’s commitment to achieve the transformations? AY: Teaching and implication.
  • I believe also people have to find a purpose for themselves ...what's in it for me?
  • Organizations which have no slack… do not innovate.… and are not robust and sustainable. Many participants: The falacy of productivity alone, to the cost of strategy and operational excellence. Planning 'slack' time ensures buffers which can be used for teaching, problem solving and other opportunities.
  • ... IMHO, if you are not making mistakes, one is not trying hard enough. Push the envelope. So Albanesa, are you saying to try not to be scared of that mistake when you are innovating?
    • Risk is a prerequisite to innovation.
    • I heard an ex-Google engineer say that in innovation, you need to fail often and fail fast otherwise there is no innovation.
    • The commitment is easy to get from management as long as you don't need them to commit resources, time or money.
We look forward to further discussions on this subject as well as others in the future.
Some notes:
• Wikipedia explains that Kaizen (Japanese: "improvement") is a concept referring to business activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers ( while Kaikaku, is the Japanese term for "radical change". In business, Kaikaku is concerned with making fundamental and radical changes to a production system, unlike Kaizen which is focused on incremental changes ( Both Kaizen and Kaikaku can be applied to activities other than production and have origins in the Toyota Production System.

• Masaaki Imai was born in Tokyo. He obtained his BA from Tokyo University in 1955, where he continued to do graduate work in international relations. Late-1950s Imai worked for five years in Washington DC at the Japanese Productivity Center, where he was responsible to accompany groups of Japanese businessmen on visits to American plants. In 1962 in Tokyo he founded his own Employment agency for the recruitment of management, executive and research personnel. In 1986 he founded the Kaizen Institute Consulting Group (KICG) to help western companies to introduce the concepts, systems and tools of Kaizen. In the same year he published, in Japan, the book on business management "Kaizen: Japanese spirit of improvement", which helped popularizing the Kaizen concept in the West (
News Montreal Section 12/02/2022 4:14am CST


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