The Kaizen approach to reducing waste and pollution


In this essay, the author describe the origins of Kaizen concepts and outline the management styles that kaizen requires. The author describes the difference between "radical innovation" approach and the Kaizen approach that has become prevalent among major companies.

The "Kaizen" is a Japanese word that means orderly, gradual, and continual improvement. (Laraia, et al, 1999) The Kaizen business strategy is all together in a company working to make incremental improvements without large investments. Kaizen is an evolutionary approach that different with other business improvement strategies practiced in the United States which require radical change in practices.

The Kaizen is a workforce development approach that able to help companies execute programs aimed at reducing waste. In the Kaizen approach contain two of the most familiar waste reduction methods - pollution prevention and lean manufacturing. The involvement of all enterprise able to create sustainable results by using Kaizen as a foundation for lean manufacturing and pollution prevention.

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The Kaizen able to help companies systematically reduce the volume and level of severity of contamination. The Kaizen concepts guided major companies to commit to providing prevention of pollution by the company to focus on solutions, while moving away from concepts of radical innovation. A focus on pollution prevention systems to create a program that is widely supported and decision-promoted - in other words, sustainable.

The Kaizen can only be successful with constant attention to people and their contributions to organizational improvement. (Laraia, et al, 1999) The Kaizen also programs that can be viewed as having ownership in one department and makes them everyone's responsibility. The Kaizen is a culture of ongoing continuous improvement that focuses on eliminates waste in all processes of an organization. Leadership required driving non-direct labour to continue to develop their ability to meet the expectation of high quality services and on-time delivery

Using kaizen to improve graduate business school degree programs


Every people at different level in an organization have to think of ways to continuously improve the services or products that they provide to customers in the competitively marketplaces. Those organizations that succeed in improving the value proposition for customers are usually become the main choices for the supplier, in preference to other suppliers that, for whatever reasons, are not able to improve.

While most managers and employees support the idea of improvement continues, the specific approaches to improving constantly tends ad hoc or complex. Although this approach can improve continuously successful in the opportunity, they are usually not responsive to changes in the ongoing desire of customers and requirements.

The improvement of online degree programs indicates a shift in customer perception of the value of traditional classroom-style higher education - especially among part-time working professionals. (Fortune, 2003; Symonds, 2003a) In addition, students who work full time to face the pressures of life in the workplace to provide more value to customers through products and services they offer. Not surprising, the students came to the class with similar expectations of the university.

Improvements continue in the traditional classroom style of education is increasingly important business call because many recent business school education to improve the appearance and pass alternative sources such as online degree programs. (AACSB, 2002; Donaldson, 2002; Doria et al., 2003; Emiliani, 2004a; Etzioni, 2002; ; Ghoshal, 2003; 2003Grey, 2004; Handy, 2002; Karapetrovic et al., 1999; Mintzberg et al., 2002; Pfeffer and Fong, 2002; Zimmerman, 1991)

An illustration, students should be in school bookshops to purchase course materials in a separate transaction, or university should include material in the course price and give them directly to the classroom?

Accredited graduate degree program in business or management by AACSB International (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) is intended to ensure high and promote the benefits and improvements continue to Undergraduate and Postgraduate education. (AACSB, 2004a)

The main focus of AACSB school' mission is the qualifications of teaching staff, curriculum, and less on other activities that are also important contributors to student perception of value. (Hazelwood, 2003; Merritt, 2003)

AACSB does not evaluate processes such as course registration, neglect and credit transfer, adding or dropping courses, exchange status, plan of study, issuing final grades, dispute resolution and student feedback to understand which activities create value while most of the policies are examining. (Rother and Shook, 1999; Womack and Jones, 1996; Zimmerman, 1991). (AACSB, 2004b) This may be the selection of the review and re-assessment process improvement opportunities. It is important that the international AASCB does not define the exact meaning of continuous improvement, the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement are focus to promote higher education administration and academic excellence. (National Consortium for Continuous Improvement, 2004; Ruben and Sandmeyer, 2001)

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Therefore, the technique used to obtain continuous improvement may be the translations from peer review panel or the school, and it may be a temporary measurement also. Besides continuous improvement can means or judge by the stakeholders such as AACSB International, staff and faculty, administrators, graduates and students. How the continuous improvement can be apply and translate by an open-ended nature (Drennan, 1999; Marshall, 1998; Rice and Taylor, 2003; Roffe, 1998; Zimmerman, 1991), is like something have been improve but actually it have not been improve; this viewed is especially from customers. (Falk et al., 1993; Zimmerman, 1991) like most of the organization, AACSB subscribes to continuous improvement, quality and excellence.

In clearly defined circumstances to do to improve the process frequently leads to embarrassment over the meaning, resulting in uneven results. (Banta, 1993; Drennan, 1999; Marshall, 1998; Roffe, 1998; Woehrle et al., 1997; Zimmerman, 1991) Continuous improvements are formally known as incremental and continuous improvement of an activity remove unreasonableness, unevenness and waste and then to create more value. In Japanese there are called muri, mura and muda. (Emiliani et al., 2003; Toyota, 2001; Womack and Jones, 1996) Ohno, (1988) as well as Womack and Jones, (1996) defined waste (muda) as the activities that do not add value and add cost. Most leaders eliminate waste when they operate something.

In short, their business processes and the specific activities contained in the understanding of poverty that consumes resources, but does not create value. Therefore, the solution is to reduce the plan to layoffs people, reduce resources and increase the cost of tuition fees and academic or support, and. Those few actions would determine as improvement. (Arnone et al., 2003; Farrell, 2003; Fogg, 2003; Hebel, 2003; Rensselaer at Hartford, 2001, 2004a) How does the manager eliminate waste? A Japanese word called 'Kaizen' means that change for better or continuous improvement. (Imai, 1986) 'Kaizen' practice zero defects and quality improvement. (Zimmerman, 1991)

Any changes that make in the change to improving the results, which may be related to quality or other factors, the customer judges are valuable, such as on-time delivery, ease of use, innovation, low cost, durable, and so on are the meaning of 'change for better'. (Zimmerman, 1991) Cutting programs, increasing tuition fees, reducing support resources and academic, and layoff are such negative actions that incompatible with the 'Kaizen' meaning.

To make the problems apparent, various methods and tools are used by the Kaizen programs to identify and correct the problems from the sources. (Imai, 1997; Roffe, 1998; Zimmerman, 1991) The outcome is reducing costs, better products or service, improve quality and customer identification. A variety of other comprehensive and systematic approach to improve the education and employment has been made (Alp, 2001; Banta, 1993; Grey, 2004; Karapetrovic et al., 1999; Marshall, 1998) include total quality management (TQM). (Koch, 2003; Woehrle et al., 1997) and policy deployment (Akao, 1991; Roberts and Tennant, 2003) in determine what course should be provide. TQM is a philosophy and method of management of an organization, Kaizen is an uncommon manager who subscribe to use the process of quality management

In the Kaizen process, similar to the use in industrial environments, is used to improve the curriculum and content. This is the first found in application of Kaizen, thereby contributing to continuous improvement of higher education literature and practice.

Kaizen process

In industry, Kaizen is usually 4 to 5 days time, but it can be like a few short hours. During this period, a cross-functional team of 8 to 12 persons, with a lean promotion of skilled assistance, to identify, measure and correct the problems posed by the process. Kaizens is not in the usual sense, business conferences, very little focus on eliminating waste, thereby creating more end-use customer value. On the contrary, Kaizen is a specific form of action or service learning, and critical issues that people look at all the performances in order to meet the needs of internal and external customer's activities. Components such as observation, analysis, critical thinking and data gathering are needed in the Kaizen process.

Kaizen is valuable because it is a fast implementation method improvement. Therefore, most of the improvements made during the improvement activities. In addition, the facilitator challenges teams to find solutions, both high low-cost, effective unbalanced, unreasonable, and eliminating waste. Kaizen involve all the people in the organization at all departments and it promotes teamwork.

In the application of Lean to improve the environmental management plan of each course modified to accommodate the situation. For example, the initial kaizens the two, because it believes that this goal can be achieved within days. However, the goal is as soon as possible so that follow-up kaizens reduced to one day, while retaining the necessary next day. The same data in industrial environments lean used in the tables used in the event, but some slight modifications.

Benefits of Kaizen

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There are several of benefits that the school, colleges or university, and organization can achieve after employ Kaizen as the strategy for better improvement in the organizations. Continue with the above discussion, applying Kaizen in the AACSB help them obtain many benefits for the staffs and students of AACSB.

The benefits include:

Kaizen has a positive viewed by the staffs and teachers, the programs going on smoothly; but sometimes they meet and found difficulties in applying the Kaizen.

With the professor and team members to examine their self-evaluation, key course material, and syllabus to transmit much more information rather than the staff and teacher examine the syllabus independent.

Professors have received them in the process to be accomplished by a better understanding.

Team members received taught courses, content, teaching methods and better understanding.

The changes are more responsive to the expectations of students.

Huge number of ideas would be use in future and current can be generating from Kaizen.

Kaizen gives staff and teacher exchange opportunities, because they do not cooperate in the manner done.


Where possible, improved in the lean. Inevitably, a number of action items have been completed at a later date, generally within 30 days, because they involve the collection of additional information, looking for different cases or journal articles used in the process, or modify the class notes or transfer of .

Moderator courts were to assume responsibility for the following items. Table 2 summarizes the improvement opportunities identified kaizens on the results. In addition, as shown in Table 2, other improvements were made, including:

- Cancel changes, such as course description, format, course objectives, namely, "Academic Integrity" statement, in the curricular.

- To remove ambiguities about the curriculum (ie, class participation) and job classification standards.

-Make sure that students have ample opportunity to earn performance conducted (for example, changing only the final exam, or final and mid-term and exams grade to assignment graded 4-12).

- Removing teaching materials that have been used for two courses, such as journal, case studies or articles.

To determine the connection between the curriculums in order to achieve a more consistent theme of environmental management procedures for strategic thinking and leadership focus. Upon completion of 10 kaizens the end, participants were invited, they are being asked to share their thinking process and results reporting.

Improvement of Kaizen

Of course, these represent the future kaizens opportunities for improvement. For illustration, different data is not used kaizens form at the beginning. They have experienced a number of improvements, by the group members and the recommendations of the facilitator's wheel. Environmental improvement measures in industry, usually visible: for example, change over time, part of the trip, inventory, a day unit, and so on.

The self-assessments of Kaizen are subjective. Look forward; some professors consider themselves above or much lower than they should have certain projects. However, the lean process generally to correct these deficiencies. Similarly, the lean target sheet is also used to measure the improvement of the subjective.

Although the team could assign a figure to that in the lean to achieve the 1-5 grade scale improvement, but there face difficulties in doing so because people may be question whether the score is right or not and can be trusted or not. However, rather than specific scores entanglement, team members agreed that indeed made progress. The subjective of scoring was not a major issue, in the end. Under the study of kaizen improvement, the professor has felt threatened especially when senior manager are serve as the team members. Those threatened feeling was not unusual and it is not the intention of Kaizen, but they want people to feel that.

The objective of Kaizen can be taught through good communication between teacher and senior managers whether one to one or in writing, to hope that improve the difficulties in kaizen process. Manager should not act as they are boss when they need to work in team. They should change their position as a team member and cooperate with each other in the team. A team must practice team work.

Close out meeting is another way to improve Kaizen. This close out meeting has the intention to brief all employees and people in the entire organization on the improvement that they have made. Furthermore, this close out meeting will gain other advantages too such as obtain suggestion from others, display the commitment from the management, and broaden participation. Kaizen noticed that sometimes the attendance of close out meeting is low because lack of interest from the team members.

As mentioned earlier, there are become more important in continue improve in the class room style and traditional business school education. Operating correctly, the use of kaizen improvement process has a lot of fun; all people love them as a valuable contribution to the school, which provides services.

The Kaizen 30-day follow-up chart could be improved if the facilitators go along with the contained of the project. In order to make sure the actions can be completed, the senior manager and facilitator should take the responsibility and an interest on it. The result achieved was affected by the strength and desires of the people to continue improve. The professors, team members and facilitators should be ready to improve, while management, staff, and faculty must take challenge between each other to achieve the goals. By the end, this will also be useful to courses, a comparison with other institutions, courses, and participated in by the industry experts.

Like the face of obstacles to academic organizations, because it may be difficult to obtain a wide range of official activities of other organizations improvement, when the methods and tools are new to them and the faculty are not supported by the administrators. Faculty usually viewed the administrator's ideas with scepticism because they have low respect to the administrators.

(Drennan, 1999; Emiliani, 2004b; Falk et al., 1993; Roffe, 1998; Zimmerman, 1991) asserted that the faculty viewed as corrupt and has low esteem toward the improvement methods and tools imported by the industry, because they believe that it will cause conflict with the institute mission. This is a very common negative reaction. As a result, the faculty often maintain status quo by doing nothing or not to change some things.

The administrators frequently interpreted that the needed for improvement are poorly (Drennan, 1999; Falk et al., 1993), the data show that the inadequacy of services provided may not be collected, may be incomplete or not widely spread in those who have the ability to make improvements. The needed for improvement may not be apparent to other. Therefore, there will not cause too much attention in determine the ways for improvement.

When the faculty face with the problem, they supposed face the problem by applying quantitative and qualitative structure or mixed structure, but they did not. They often ignore the recommendations for improvements to the administrator, for example, and not understand its potential benefits, its purpose, the process, and its role and responsibilities. They are lack of consistency.

It may be worth in exploring the problem and methods or tools for improvement because it may produce better result compared to undoubtedly the faculty dislike, like for example cut in budget and programs, layoffs and wage freezes.

There are some factors why faculty apply Kaizen in the EMP program:

Most teachers want to improve their courses.

Several date determine that the requirement for improvement, and the teacher also agreed that need to improve.

They are not limited by the school functional department, because they are collegial.

The teacher had many experience in the teaching industry, so they not resist the industry practices.

The teachers are ready to try new things, so the EMP programs let them a try with positive attitude.

A colleague proposes it.

(Drennan, 1999; Roffe, 1998) claimed that, total quality management had been criticism when apply in the academic school, because most of the time for teaching had been take away for researching that programs. The faculty have not yet participate in the improvement process to contribute services to the school. The improvement process was done by the organizational routines, which are typically emphasized on the teaching and research services.

If Kaizen is apply and explain correctly, it can be an appropriate strategy for use in the academic school to achieve positive result without burden the school functions. Why the author says this? It is because Kaizen promotes teamwork in all departments, identifies special teaching methods to help faculty improve their teaching technique, encourages pensive dialog and so on. From the outcome obtain, faculty might be able to participate in the improvement process. They use different approaches to improve in the different academics; it is depend on the situation and condition.

Money, labours and supporting from administrators is the inputs that requires for continuous improvement. (Drennan, 1999; Falk et al., 1993; Roffe, 1998) The great performance of their support is through direct participation in the improvement process, rather than authorize it to other employees. In order to compete in this competitive environment, people from all departments have to work together and continue improve or change for better to overcome obstacle.


Implementation of kaizen has brought rapid improvement. The improvements are achieved without causing any negative impact to the stakeholders and students. It did not make undesirable exchange with the stakeholders and student's freedom or perception of value. The student's perception of value is changes over time. Besides, the team's members also found many benefits of kaizen that not found in the traditional approaches.

Kaizen is a continuous and repeated activities, it use data and information from relevant sources to lead the improvement activities. The school and its programs will remain competitive in the industry by doing so. It also reflects the continuous improvement, excellence and quality of an organization and an individual. It is useful for a manager to learn and take part in kaizen activities for improvement, because now most of the organizations facing an ongoing financial and other significant challenges.

Kaizen in Automobile Companies

Changes in the environment, has result the Japanese car companies a serious change in many aspect. Highly appreciated against the Japanese yen exchange rate, demand diversification, intense competition, and shortening the product life cycle was the result from environmental changes. Such change has leaded to the useful of cost management in produce a new product that meet customer requirement. Customers want lower cost and quality product. Eliminating waste also contribute to cost reduction.

Due to the above problems, total cost management was needed for product design, product development, and production. There are differences between traditional cost management and today total cost management. The different between traditional cost management and total cost management is the traditional cost management only focus on cost control in production stage. In fact, costs occur from the new product design and development until its production.

Total cost management consists of two main pillar, which are target costing and kaizen costing in Japanese car companies. In Japanese 'Genkakikaku' means target costing. "Target costing is the system to support the cost reduction process in the developing and designing stage of an entirely new model, a full model change or a minor model change." (Imai, 1986) In Japanese 'Genkakaizen' means kaizen costing. "Kaizen Costing is the system to support the cost reduction process in the manufacturing stage of the existing model of product." (Imai, 1986) Generally innovations are done in the designing and developing stage. (Imai, 1986; Shimbun, 1989)

They are "target costing" (the establishment of a target cost and the method of its attainment) and "Kaizen Costing." They can be summarized as follows:

(1) "Target Costing" is the system to support the cost reduction process in the developing and designing phase of an entirely new model, a full model change or a minor model change. (Target Costing is called "Genkakikaku" in Japanese.)

(2) "Kaizen Costing" is the system to support the cost reduction process in the manufacturing phase of the existing model of product. (Kaizen costing is called "Genkakaizen" in Japanese. The Japanese word "Kaizen" in Kaizen costing may be a somewhat different concept from the English word "improvement". "Kaizen" refers to continuous accumulations of small betterment activities rather than innovative improvement. Therefore, "Kaizen costing" includes cost reduction in the manufacturing stage of existing products. Innovative improvement based on new technological innovations is usually introduced in the developing and designing stage. (Imai, 1986)

Total cost management in Japanese companies is the linkages between target costing and kaizen costing. Context of total cost management means the cost that occur in the all stage of product life cycle. The ideas of total cost management come from the participation of all departments and all employees from the entire organizations.

Kaizen Costing through "Management by Objective"

The objectives of every manufacturing plant are about and relate to the cost, quality, and efficiency and so on. In the production meeting, the substantial target and objectives for each plant will be evaluate and decide. But the costs target for Kaizen will be set and judge in a different meeting called Kaizen cost meeting.

There are only few organizational levels posses in the cost meeting. There are division, process, plant, section, and department levels. Through management by objective the number or amount of reduction target for every level in the organization means that the Kaizen cost is set in the cost meeting. This assignment is called 'objectives decay' and the implementation is regard to the policies and substantial purpose which had been decided before.

The objective decay cannot be implementing uniformly, because they have to consider about the situation and condition of each cases. Objective decay may not suitable to all the cases; it must be applied according to the situation of the case. Besides that, setting the objective for a department also must be depending on the situation. The manager has to evaluate and screening the environment before take any decision.

The just in time production (JIT) system has help in costs reduction, in the control activities level. This is a system that reduces the waste completely out of the factory cost. Reductions of inventories in plants enable the managers to clarify many problems. (Cane, 1996)

As noted above, accounting control is used to allocate the cost target to departments, division, plants and so on through the kaizen costing. The control activities level measure the production and quality control using nonmonetary methods. Everybody in the manufacturing level involved in kaizen daily activities through suggestion system, QC circles and so on. Floor-level controls and accounting controls are the essentials of kaizen costing process in Japanese automobile companies.

Features of Target Costing

In general, corporate long-term or short-term profit planning step is included in the target costing process. Narrowly interpretation of the target cost will be about a specific product planning process is divided into the composition of the two processes to meet customer needs, establish objectives of profit and sales of new products targeted price target cost, as well as the process through the realization of value engineering (VE) and acquisition costs and target cost comparison of cost. (Imai, 1986)

At this point it is appropriate to comment briefly on the value engineering. The basic idea of value engineering of products and services to fulfil the functions and their value is the amount of the costs of these functions measured by the ratio. (Imai, 1986) It is necessary to clarify the functions of each product, part and service are quantified. For example, the value of direct materials engineering activities related materials can be implemented changes in the quality or grade of bolt part number, a part of the shape changes, replacing part of the common use to reduce the change in method of painting, etc.

Value engineering is different from the control of activities to the traditional standard cost accounting, and to encourage standards to reduce the cost of the creative plan. This contrasts with standard cost accounting which overemphasizes determining and achieving cost performance standards.

Features of Kaizen Costing

A Japanese accountant will expects a relation to the cost control system based on standard cost accounting when he hears the words "Kaizen Costing". However, fixing the cost of Kaizen in Japanese car companies have not implemented according to the standard cost.

This means that companies do not perform analysis of variance based on the gap between the cost of traditional standard cost and actual cost for each period. Kaizen Costing implemented outside the system cost as a standard part of the overall system of financial control. At its core, the actual cost per car for a period of Kaizen is the latest cost estimate should be reduced in each successive period in order to meet profit targets.

The reason Japanese auto company's implement Kaizen costing are outside the standard cost accounting system is not due to lower costs of production stages of a less serious, but because it is considered very important. Standard costs are the limited financial funds in the Japanese car company's objectives, so it has a lot of the cost and reduces the manufacturing stage is a not suitable function. (Imai, 1986)

Moreover, the concepts of Kaizen costing, including cost control than the traditional concept, referring to the meetings of the cost-effective standards for investigating and responding to when these standards are not consistent with the broader meaning.

The Kaizen Costing activities include cost reduction activities; require the company to change the mode of production of existing products. In order to improve cost less than standard costs for the purpose are obvious, from the "viewpoint of kaizen costing" concept. A rough classification, there are two types of activities the cost of lean. These include the production of 3 months when the actual performance of the implementation of kaizen between the actual cost and target cost difference of the new product events. Another kind of consists of activities implemented rapidly every period to reduce any difference between estimated profit and target in order to achieve allowable cost.


Target costing may force unreasonable demands on employees, so the company have to consider the motivational considerations for the attainability of target costs in their company.

All of the employee must tackle cost reduction positively for implement the target costing and kaizen costing effectively. Besides that, company have the responsibility to devise the methods to motivate employees to achieve the company's target effectively. In addition, value engineering activities require access to various departments of the variety of information, methods, promotion of group activities and collaboration needs.

The most important thing in Kaizen costing activities is to determine the appropriate amount of Kaizen cost targets, as well as the allocation of the appropriate allocation of the amount is not too much of the organizational power structure of the company. On the contrary, "self-control" principle should prevail and each objective should be through consultation between managers and subordinates.

The all members in all departments, including the purchasing department and suppliers involved in the target cost, although the Planning Department for each demonstration project, product manager must be the major responsibility for the entire development and design phase. Besides that, the product manager plays the leader role in the project matrix management system. The all people at every stage of the plants involved in achieving the target cost of Kaizen. Therefore, "people involvement" are very important in Japanese companies to implement cost of setting targets and setting the cost of Kaizen.

Nowadays, it can be assured that the importance of target costing is increasing. However, Kaizen costing should not be slighted. Kaizen costing is totally different from the cost of setting standards in the ongoing aim of reducing costs in production levels, while setting the standard cost is intended to achieve and maintain cost standards. Target costing and Kaizen costing should be inseparably related to each other. The whole life of a product cannot be implemented adequately in total cost management if either target costing or Kaizen costing is ignored.