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Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest

Quality Insider

Book: New Book Challenges Managers to Lead Kaizen

Empowering everyone to be a problem solver

Published: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 - 13:50

This new book by authors Bunji Tozawa and Norman Bodek, How to Do Kaizen: A new path to innovation (PCS Press, 2010), explains kaizen, the Japanese method of improvement that works from the ground up and on a continuous basis. It directly involves the ideas of those who experience problems first hand, the operators on the shop floor who are the team members and team leaders as well as upper management. Kaizen helps to keep improvements on the immediate level, dealing with situations or problems while they are fresh in the mind rather than some statistic on a chart a month later.

So how do managers encourage employees to share their ideas? What about coaxing the opinions from those whose jobs are directly affected by ideas that have been implemented? How to Do Kaizen answers these questions, from the gathering of ideas, incorporating them, checking results, and sustaining what works. From that, lays a path to further innovation.

The book takes a look at Gulfstream Corp., which has greatly improved the work environment and the morale of its employees by obtaining and implementing their ideas (more than 40,000 ideas incorporated in 2009). The company has implemented an average of 40 ideas per employee per year. As a result, employee turnover is nearly nonexistent, quality continues to rise, and millions of dollars have been saved.

How to Do Kaizen describes how to lead kaizen events and pique the interest of employees to be involved and actively participate in the events to implement a high-performing idea system.

“I have always admired both of the authors of this book, because they have always been just enough ahead of their time to be agents of significant positive change,” says Alan G. Robinson, professor at the University of Massachusetts, co-author of Ideas Are Free (Berrett-Koehler, 2004).


About The Author

Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest’s picture

Laurel Thoennes @ Quality Digest

Laurel Thoennes is an editor at Quality Digest. She has worked in the media industry for 33 years at newspapers, magazines, and UC Davis—the past 25 years with Quality Digest.