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This is a Japanese term and to define kaizen, basically means “improvement” or literally “good change." When it comes to business practices, there are nuances to kaizen’s meaning and the difference between blitz and workshop. Kaizen is a method of implementing improvement, and the difference between a blitz and workshop is the focus of the improvement.
Kaizen and Improvements
Kaizen focuses on small improvements. Detractors claim this makes this method inefficient. The theory is that when many small improvements are accomplished, they can amount to enormous results. This means better productivity and less waste. This is a different philosophy from the “command and control” type of business leaders. These types of leaders make changes and the workers follow. An efficient kaizen will allow workers to make changes and then the manager monitors the improvements. Adjustments are made along the way to help guide the results. Instead of large-scale planning, much smaller plans are made and they are easier to adapt.
This is a offshoot of the kaizen philosophy. This is also called a kaizen event. This is directed at looking at one issue and taking a week or more to fix it. This is a more focused event than the normal kaizen philosophy. This is used later on when improvements are already being made and the focus is much narrower.
This is also a more reactive process. People spot something wrong and work to fix it.
The kaizen workshop is less focused than a blitz.
A company will plan a workshop, but the goals are not as well defined as a blitz. The workshop will come up with several different goals to accomplish and plans how to accomplish them. Different aspects of the company will be looked at and improvements will be suggested. The big difference is that the blitz is focused on one specific goal, while the workshop is a tackling several problems.
At the root, kaizen is business model to help improve efficiency and productivity. The blitz is a method to attack one problem. For this to work, companies will have to allow input and experimentation from its workers. This could be difficult for some companies to allow as they are manager-driven companies.
Mal Van Valkenburg has been a journalist since 1986 and is working in Nevada. He was the sports editor of the "Niagara Gazette" in Niagara Falls, N.Y. During this time, he covered such events as the Super Bowl, World Series, NCAA basketball, Buffalo Bills and the NHL. Valkenburg holds a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications at the University of South Florida.