Technology, Quality and Events Quality and Management

Kaizen Methodology: 9 Principles to Improve Your Business

Activities that continuously improve all the jobs in a company and involve everyone, without exception, is how we can refer to the Kaizen methodology.

The Japanese expression has a long history, and the methodology was first implemented in Japanese industries during the country's recovery effort after the extensive destruction caused by World War II. What happened to Japan in the post-war period is, in this sense, a practical example of how this method provides the desired results even in circumstances where there are a great many obstacles.


Kaizen Methodology


By improving standardized activities and processes, the Kaizen methodology has as its primary goal the elimination of waste, always considering a series of principles that can be found in the 1986 book by Japanese Masaaki Imai - "Kaizen: The key to Japan's Competitive Success ".

The quote "today better than yesterday, tomorrow better than today" is, almost unanimously, pointed to as one of the most appropriate definitions of the Kaizen methodology. But, how can we apply it in a business world where the demand is constant and growing and where consumers are becoming increasingly demanding?


Kaizen's methodology answers with a set of nine guiding principles:

  1. Learn from practice.
  2. All waste must be eliminated.
  3. Everyone should be involved in the improvement process.
  4. Increased productivity must be based on actions that do not require high financial investment.
  5. It should be applied anywhere or in any company..
  6. The improvements obtained should be disclosed as a way to achieve transparent communication.
  7. Actions should focus where there is a greater need.
  8. Kaizen should be directed in such a way that the goal is solely the improvement of processes.
  9. Prioritization in people´s improvement should be more important.


What is the Kaizen methodology used for?

We already know what Kaizen means (in Japanese: kai = change + zen = for the better), but the question should have come to you by now: what exactly is the Kaizen methodology for?

In a very simple way, the goal, applying the principles advocated by Masaaki Imai in the above mentioned book is to achieve a cost reduction and increased productivity.

That said, a new question arises: how?

Based on the assumption that everyone in an organization, from the CEO to the employees, can continuously improve the performance of their operations, thereby helping improving the company's performance while still meeting individual needs.


Who is Masaaki Imai?

Born in 1930 in Tokyo, Japan, Masaaki Imai is the pioneer of the methodology and founder of the Kaizen Institute, now a world leader in consulting. Author of the book Kaizen: The Key to Japan's Competitive Success, "published in 1986, Masaaki Imai has written several books and published articles on quality, leadership, and other management-related topics.

Books by Masaaki Imai:

1975 - Never Take Yes for an Answer: An Inside Look at Japanese Business

1986 - Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success

1997 - Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Low-cost Approach to Management

2010 - Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success, (Japanese) 2nd Edition

2012 - Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Approach to a Continuous Improvement Strategy, 2nd Edition


The practical example 

AP Portugal - Tech Language Solutions is strongly committed to the Kaizen system, a method that is currently implemented in more than 35 countries and in thousands of companies from 14 sectors of activity.

The conviction is simple and clear: the joint implementation of this methodology with that established in the ISO 17100 International Quality Standard of 2015, for which we are a certified Portuguese translation company, will be a double surplus and above all will allow the maximum degree of customer satisfaction, the main objective of any business activity.


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This text was not written by a native English speaker, but by a language lover. However, all our language services are always provided by native speakers.



AP PORTUGAL - Tech Language Solutions is a Portuguese translation company certified by the International Quality Standard ISO 17100. The company offers a wide range of language services, which include translation (TEP), post-editing machine translation (PEMT), transcription, desktop publishing and subtitling, voice talent, software and website localisation technology, SEO and consulting. It invests enthusiastically in the development of partnerships and cooperation anywhere in the world where your organization may need a partner for the African, Brazilian and European Portuguese language.


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