Chapter 2 Process Improvement in Manufacturing Industry This chapter critically evaluates the available literature concerning the development of production systems and process improvement in the automotive industry
Process Improvement in Manufacturing Industry
This chapter critically evaluates the available literature concerning the development of production systems and process improvement in the automotive industry. The chapter is divided into 4 sections: section 2.1 introduces and differentiates the different types of production systems in the automotive industry, and elaborates in detail how they were developed and improved over the past century. Section 2.2 defines the Toyota Production System (TPS) and Lean Production, and explores their development. Section
2.3 gives a more accurate definition of the Japanese Kaizen, distinguishes it from other improvement methods and introduces its two implementing practices. Section 2.4 introduces the different perspectives on comparing the different long-term effects of the two improvement practices and describing their mutual relationship in continuous improvement.
The Improvement of Production Systems in Manufacturing Industry
“Dissatisfaction is the mother of improvement.”
Shingo (1987, p18)
In manufacturing industry, improvement is a logical next step to change the performance of a production system from the status quo to a new stage (Evans, 1993; Handyside, 1997). In order to meet the new production goals and sharpen competitive advantage, focusing on improvement is becoming more important (Liker, 2004) and therefore it is always required in manufacturing industry (Womack and Jones, 1996). The importance of making improvements in manufacturing industry has also been emphasised by several previous studies (Skinner, 1969; Schonberger, 1982b; Womack et al., 1990; Bartezzaghi, 1999; Fullerton and McWatters, 2001; Pavnaskar et al., 2003;
Schonberger, 2006; Colledani et al., 2010).
Achieving continuous improvement through small increments is a ‘world class’ manufacturing practice (Hayes and Wheelwright, 1984) to increase production efficiency (e.g., low cost/high quality) (Womack and Jones, 1996). The improvement of production systems can be a key competitive weapon (Prado, 1997; Hill, 2000, pp., p55; Liker and Meier, 2006). In particular, bringing improvement in all aspects is essential
for meeting the production challenges (Bessant and Caffyn, 1997) and a central topic to ensure the competitiveness of the production system (Colledani et al., 2010).
In case of automotive industry, manufacturing systems have been advanced from the Craft Production to Mass Production, and during the last a few decades to Lean Manufacturing (Figure 2.1).
Figure 2.1 The timeline for improvement in the production systems in the automotive industry (Taylor and Brunt, 2001; Clarke, 2005; American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2008; Patty and Denton, 2010)
The improvement in Craft Production
Upto the middle of 18th century, manufacturing was small-scale and fundamentally involved manual work, with or without the aid of tools (Patty and Denton, 2010). This type of manufacturing is called Craft Production (Slack et al., 2007). Craft Production is based on a pre- industrialised shop floor production system (Miltenburg, 2005). It is characterised by highly skilled and experienced workers; the use of highly skilled and experienced workers was probably the single most important characteristic at the time (Womack et al., 1990). Hence, improvement was mostly made through apprenticeship training to enhance a worker’s skills and experience (Clarke, 2005).
Craft Production has the advantage of producing unique, highly customised and flexible products (Womack et al., 1990). Nevertheless, the use of general-purpose tools, stationary assemblies and extremely decentralised shop floor (Dennis and Shook, 2007) prevented Craft Production from producing high volumes of products quickly (Hobbs, 2004). Especially in the automotive industry, the production of hand-built cars was time- consuming and costly (Ford, 1926). In Europe, before the onset of Mass
Production, no more than 1000 cars could be built per year, and no two were exactly alike, since each of these cars were built individually and separately to order (Koren, 2010); quality was also inconsistent (Taylor and Brunt, 2001).
Therefore, the main challenges before Craft production was how to build products at lower cost, with consistent quality and at a high speed (Farahani et al., 2011). Just improving workers’ skills and experience was not enough to meet such challenges. Dedicated tools/machines needed to be introduced to boost productivity (Taylor and Brunt, 2001).
Figure 2.2 The Morgan Motor, a modern British craft car producer (The Morgan Motor, 2010)
Craft Production, on later stage, was replaced by the machine-intensive Mass Production system which could make products in larger volume, more quickly and with consistent quality (Hobbs, 2004). Modern Craft Production continues to survive (e.g., Figure 2.2), but is generally limited to niche markets for luxury goods (Dennis and Shook, 2007).
The improvement in Mass Production
Mass Production upgraded the production processes and effectively minimised numerous major problems of Craft Production (Sorensen et al., 2006). It was based on many of Fred Winslow Taylor’s innovations (i.e., standardised work, reduced cycle time, time and motion study, etc.) from the classic text: the Principles of Scientific Management (Taylor, 1911).
Mass Production separated planning from production and let the shop floor employees do only short cycle, repetitive tasks (Dennis and Shook, 2007). Thus, in contrast to
Craft Production, Mass Production is a high-quantity production system (APICS Dictionary 9th Edition, 1998). It uses large and dedicated machines and has a continuous flow of materials (Anderson, 1994). It can produce goods in high volume, in a faster manner (Slack et al., 2007) and with significantly lower costs (Hobbs, 2004) than Craft Production (Womack et al., 1990).
In the case of automotive industry, the Mass Production system (e.g., Figure 2.3) was introduced at the beginning of the 1900s (Williams et al., 1993). In early 1901, Oldsmobile developed the first high-quantity assembly-line to build cars – the Curved- Dashs (Eckermann and Albrecht, 2001). The assembly-line was nevertheless improved substantially by Ford Motors (Patty and Denton, 2010).
(a) A Curved-Dashs by the Oldsmobile in 1901 (Chevedden and Kowalke, 2012, p20)
(b) Ford’s Model-Ns’ production brefore the introduction of a moving assembly-line (Cabadas, 2004, p19)
Figure 2.3 The early Mass Production system
(a) Model-Ts were being produced on a moving assembly-line (Cabadas, 2004, p23)
(b) An example of the standardised parts of the Model-Ts (Collins, 2007, p140) Figure 2.4 The moving assembly-line and standardised parts
In the last leg of 1913, Ford Motors introduced a moving assembly-line at the Highland Park Plant to pace up the production process, and also used interchangeable and
standardised components to ensure quality (Ford, 1926, pp., p83) (Figure 2.4). By 1915, the Highland Park Plant produced around 500,000 Model-Ts per annum (Nersesian, 2000, p. p50). Later, the production line made a total number of 15 million Model-Ts in 19 years (1908-1927); on average approximately 800,000 per year (Williams et al., 1993; Sorensen et al., 2006). The concept of the moving assembly-line and standardised components became the basis of contemporary automotive production (Ohno, 1988a, pp., p93). Womack et al. (1990) complemented Ford’s development of the moving assembly production line and the use of standardised interchangeable components, saying they were some of the great achievements of the automotive industry.
Nevertheless, Mass Production also has major issues. Firstly, the use of dedicated machinery eventually resulted in a notable drop in the average skill level of the workforce, as many skills were made redundant by the machinery (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1998; Koren, 2010). As a result, skilled workers became less important, and the improvements achieved by Mass Production were mainly achieved from the use of more efficient machinery (Dennis and Shook, 2007, p. p2).
The second effect was that most Mass Production machines were large, only served a single-purpose and were very expensive to purchase (Womack et al., 1990). As Bowden and Higgins (2004, p386) argued, “Fordist production methods were characterised by the use of high cost, specially designed machines… Thus, the end result was high volume production of standardised products”. In comparison to Craft Production, the investment costs of Mass Production had gone up dramatically.
The third effect was that most of these Mass Production machines were expensive to run (Womack et al., 1990), which resulted in complexity on the shop floor (Jones,2001). The Mass Production machines “relied on a seemingly endless supply of natural resources, such as ore, timber, water, grain, cattle, coal, and land” (Clark and Brody, 2009, p465) (Figure 2.5). It required “expensive and complicated forecasting, planning, scheduling and supplier coordination” to keep the machines running (Jones, 2001, p19). For example, Ford used to produce everything for the Model-Ts using a vertically integrated system on its highly centralised shop floor, “this operation extended from the iron ore mines all the way to the finished product” (Murman et al., 2002, p88). Accordingly, as Henry Ford (1926, p82) recalled, “our organization, Ford’s Highland Park Plant, has not enough resources/spaces to make two kinds of motor car under the same roof”.
In about 1928, showing iron ore carriers in the northern end of the slip at the right and storage bins at the left of the slip. Further left are the blast furances, foundry, and power plant.
Figure 2.5 The Rouge plant, world’s largest single-company industrial concentration (Lewis, 1987, p172)
The fourth effect was that almost all of those Mass Production machines were only made for a single-purpose. As a result the changeover time of these machines was very long (Batchelor, 1994). As Miozzo and Walsh (2006) commented, the long changeover time was even taken as a fixed constraint. Thus, the machines were only used to make one type of product at a time to avoid the necessity of changeover (Womack et al., 1990). In this way, low product variety was another main characteristic of Mass Production (Kamrani and Nasr, 2008, p. p228). For example, Ford used to only mass-produce black Model-Ts in its Highland Park Plant (Leseure, 2002) (Figure 2.6).
On an assembly-line, every car was made with exactly the same parts. Each car was not made special or different
Figure 2.6 The black Model-Ts (Rausch, 2007, p18)
As fifth effect, in order to maximise the use of the expensive machines, most mass- produced products were made-to-stock, which increased costs (Slack et al., 2007). For instace, with the purpose of taking benefits from the large economies of scale and scope (Hobbs, 2004), Ford mass-produced its cars to meet the needs of the vast market in the 20th Century, but it ended up with massive waste in overproduction (Whaples and Betts, 1995; Murman et al., 2002, pp., p88; Datta, 2004).
Thus, the drawbacks of Mass Production highlighted the necessity for improvements which could optimize the balance between machines and workforce skills. What was needed was a more cost-effective production system which had the flexibility to produce a wide variety of products, with high quality, at low cost (Ohno, 1988a, pp., xiii).
The improvement in Lean Production
The latest manufacturing system, the Toyota Production System (or later Lean Production, as coined by Krafcit, 1988), was being developed in Japan from the 1940s (Murman et al., 2002; Hobbs, 2004; Toshiko and Shook, 2007). It was basically used to make products to meet the Japanese small-lot production pattern (Ohno, 1988a) and “was a direct challenge to the older paradigms” (Lillrank, 1995, p973).
Lean Production “combines the advantages of Craft Production and Mass Production” (Womack et al., 1990, p13) and is considered to be another revolution in productivity in manufacturing industry (Slack et al., 2001; Holweg, 2007). Lean Production has the ability to achieve machine and workforce improvements (Shingo and Bodek, 1988; Yoneyama, 2007; Takeuchi et al., 2008). It primarily relies on a multi-skilled and highly experienced workforce to improve machinery to make a variety of products at high speed, with high quality, and most importantly, reducing the waste of overproduction (Denton, 1995).
Lean Production “offers significant advantages over other production methods, dramatic improvements in productivity and quality that no other system can match” (Scarbrough and Terry, 1998, p224). Lean Production has therefore, gained wide recognition for the advantages that it offers compared to Mass Production and Craft
Production (Salvendy, 2001; Bicheno, 2004). The following Table 2.1 sums up the characteristics of the three types of production systems.
Craft Production Mass Production Lean Production
Focus Task Product, Result Customer, Process
Skill level High skilled Low skilled Multi-skilled
Overall aim Mastery of craft Reduce cost and increase
efficiency Eliminate waste and add
Operations Single items Batch and queue Synchronised flow and pull
Tools required General purpose Dedicated General purpose
Teamwork Moderate Low High
Production plan Make-to-order Made-to-stock
Defect rate Various High Low
Quality check Integration (part of the craft) Inspection (a second stage,
after production) Prevention (built in by
design and methods)
Warehouse size No / very small Very large No / small
Buffers Large Large No / very small
Production Volume High variety low quantity Low variety high quantity High variety high quantity
Business strategy Customisation Economies of scale and
automation Flexibility and adaptability
Improvement Master-driven continuous
improvement Expert-, result-driven
periodic improvement Workforce-, process-driven
Table 2.1 The characteristic comparison of each production system in the automotive industry (Krafcit, 1988; Womack et al., 1990; Evans, 1993; Taylor and Brunt, 2001; Murman et al., 2002)
Lean Production system is derived mostly from Toyota which is widely known as the Toyota Production System (TPS) (Emiliani, 2006). It is implemented in the automotive industry (Shingo, 1989) to achieve ‘Lean’ in everything (Krafcit, 1989) with an “absolute minimum” use of warehouse for storage, “bufferless assembly lines”, “utility workers” and a “tiny” repair area (Krafcit, 1988, p45).
The definition of Lean Production
The term Lean Production was initially adopted by the International Motor Vehicle programme (IMVP) in 1979 (Krafcit, 1988; Womack et al., 1990). The IMVP is the oldest and largest international research consortiums from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that intended to understand the challenges facing the global automotive industry (Krafcit, 1988; Lewis, 2000; IMVP, 2008). In the later part of 1980s, the IMVP published two classic books in this field: The Machine that Changed the World (Womack et al., 1990) and Lean Thinking (Womack and Jones, 1996) to compare the automotive industry in Japan and the West.
Over the years, the term ‘Lean Production’ or just ‘Lean’ has become more widely cited and it has been defined differently (Lewis, 2000; Shah and Ward, 2007):
“Lean Production means moving towards the elimination of all waste in order to develop an operation that is faster, more dependable, produces higher-quality products and services and, above all, operates at low cost” (Slack et al., 2007, p466).
Other definitions of Lean Production focuses on its philosophy of production:
“Lean Production is a philosophy of production that emphasizes the minimization of the amount of all the resources (including time) used in the various activities of the enterprise. It involves identifying and eliminating non-value-adding activities in design, production, supply chain management, and dealing with the customers.” (APICS Dictionary 9th Edition, 1998, p49)
The current research adopted the definitions of Lean Production which emphasised continuous improvement and the elimination of waste. Krafcit (1988), a researcher in MIT for the IMVP programme, articulated the following definition:
“This TPS plant has been in the midst of a sustained, corporate-led drive to continuously improve its efficiency, to reduce costs in every facet of the operation, and to relentlessly improve quality.” (Krafcit, 1988, p41)
The definition given by Handyside (1997) in a major study of Lean Manufacturing shop floor:
“True lean manufacturing is simply concerned with the constant and never-ending elimination of waste” (Handyside, 1997, p163).
A more recent definition given by Radnor et al. (2012):
“Lean as a management practice based on the philosophy of continuously improving processes by either increasing customer value or reducing non-value adding activities (muda), process variation (mura), and poor work conditions (muri)”(Radnor et al., 2012, p365).
The development of Lean Production
Lean Production started in Japan and was developed initially in the automotive industry (Womack et al., 1990; Womack and Jones, 1996; Jones, 2001). It was particularly, pioneered and exemplified by Toyota (Hines et al., 2004), and thus it has been given the name: Toyota Production System (or TPS) (Shingo, 1990; Toyota, 1995).
The TPS remained unknown outside Toyota till the late 1970s, since it was never intended for adoption beyond Toyota in the first place (Schonberger, 1982b; Emiliani, 2006; Schonberger, 2006). Bodek (2004, p28) concluded that “the Toyota Production System had given Toyota a great competitive advantage and they did not want to share this information with other automotive companies”. This was corroborated by Sako (2004) who concluded that the TPS was kept as a secret within Toyota until they decided to share it with their suppliers in the 1970s. Schonberger (1982b) also revealed that there were only a few journal articles describing the TPS in the late 1970s. Particularly in the West, no English paper was published that mentioned the TPS or JIT until 1977 (i.e., Ashburn, 1977; Sugimori et al., 1977). Taylor and Brunt (2001, p20) reiterated the point and reported that “in the early 1970s, the TPS was documented for the first time, though it took another decade before these principles were published in books and articles”.
In the beginning of 1980s, many Western academics started studying Toyota’s success and taking note of the benefits of their seemingly revolutionary production system (e.g., Hayes, 1981; Schonberger, 1982a; Schonberger, 1982b; Schonberger and Gilbert, 1983; Cusumano, 1988). To be precise, according to The Asian Productivity Organization (2013), two of these academics were James Womack of the MIT and Daniel Jones of the University of Cardiff in Wales. It was these authors who were widely credited for adopting the term ‘Lean Manufacturing/Lean Production’ from Krafcit (1988) to describe the TPS to the West (Womack et al., 1990; Womack and Jones, 1996).
In the 1990s, the classic book The Machine that Changed the World was published (Womack et al., 1990). It adopted the term ‘Lean Manufacturing/Lean Production’ to describe the TPS (Krafcit, 1988; Engström et al., 1996; Fujimoto and Takeishi, 2001). This book combined disjointed Lean principles together and introduced them in a systematic fashion (Karlsson and Ahlstrom, 1996). Today, describing the TPS as Lean Production is widely accepted and both names have been used interchangeably in many recent publications (e.g., Okino, 1995; Rinehart et al., 1997; Fujimoto and Takeishi, 2001; Liker, 2004; Liker and Meier, 2006; Schonberger, 2006; Dennis and Shook, 2007; Pil and Fujimoto, 2007).
The philosophy of Lean Production
Lean Production is a management philosophy (Womack et al., 1990; Womack and Jones, 1996; Bicheno, 2004). “Lean Production is ‘Lean’ because it uses less of everything compared with Mass Manufacturing – half the human effort in the factory, half the manufacturing space, half the investment in tools, half the engineering hours to develop a new production in half the time” (Womack et al., 1990, p13).
Figure 2.7 The different Lean tools and techniques, adopted from Feld (2001, p5)
Lean Production is made of many tools and techniques for minimising the amount of all resources applied in various activities (Fujimoto and Takeishi, 2001; Scaffede, 2002; Pavnaskar et al., 2003; Shah and Ward, 2003; Liker, 2004; Morgan and Liker, 2006) (e.g., Figure 2.7). These include product design (e.g., product design for simplification and error-proofing) (Shingo, 1986; Got? and Odagiri, 1997) and manufacturing (e.g., automation with human touch and single-minute exchange of die) (Shingo and Dillon, 1985), supply chain management (e.g., just-in-time delivery) (Turnbull et al., 1989; Turnbull et al., 1992; Sako, 2004), shop floor management/continuous improvement (e.g., 5S practice, visual management, Kaizen, etc.) (Handyside, 1997; Imai, 1997), customer and supplier focus (e.g., quality mapping to increase customer value, modular sourcing, supplier association, supplier collaborations, etc.) (Hines and Rich, 1997; Howard, 2005; Schonberger, 2006), and employing multi-skilled workers and cross- functional teams (Morris et al., 1998; Delbridge et al., 2000).
Figure 2.8 The eight disciplines of the Lean enterprise model (Morgan and Liker, 2006)
These tools and techniques can again be divided into 8 disciplines (Figure 2.8) and classified accordingly into four main categories to build a Lean Production organisation (Peters, 1989; Salvendy, 2001). Ahlstrom and Karlsson (1996) summarised these findings and created the following conceptualisation to show the major compositions of a Lean Production organisation (Figure 2.9).
Figure 2.9 The conceptualisation of Lean Production (Karlsson and Ahlstrom, 1996, p26)
Continuous Improvement in Lean Production
As a successor to Craft Production and Mass Production, Lean Production has been improved considerably to have many small and simple manufacturing machines but multi-skilled and experienced workforce (Womack et al., 1990). still, in manufacturing industry, having many machines and a skilled workforce does not make an outstanding production system. According to many past studies (e.g., Kono, 1982; Bessant et al., 1994, pp., p18; Bhuiyan and Baghel, 2005), what made Lean Production better than the previous systems was the inherent feature of achieving continuous improvement. As
Womack et al. (1990) pleaded, the implementation of continuous improvement is one of the basic features of Lean Production for striving towards perfection.
Continuous improvement has always been conspicuous as a powerful tool for maintaining the competitiveness of organisations through Lean Production and one of the fundamentals that support the implementation of other Lean tools and techniques (Toshiko and Shook, 2007). Ahlstrom (1998, p331) concluded that “the final Lean Production principle is continuous improvement: perfection is the only goal”. Liker and Hoseus (2008, p63) indicated that “without continuous improvement the tools of Lean Production would be useless”. Imai (1986, pxxxii) emphasised that continuous improvement is “the unifying thread running through the philosophy, the systems, and the problem-solving tools developed in Japan over the last 30 years”.
Continuous improvement is defined as “a continual quest to make things better in products, processes, customer service, etc.” (Bessant and Caffyn, 1997, p7). It involves company-wide (Bodek, 2002), high frequency changes (Chartered Quality Institute, 2011) and is synonymous with ‘innovation’ (Bessant et al., 1994; De Jager et al., 2004). Continuous improvement does not necessarily require large capital investments (Imai, 1986; Imai, 1997; Terziovski and Sohal, 2000) and is not necessarily based on advanced methodologies (Rapp and Eklund, 2002), it hardly results in a big leap or generates a dramatic change (Bhuiyan and Baghel, 2005).
The origins of continuous improvement
Continuous improvement is commonly cited as one of the key methods of Lean Production (Lillrank, 1995) and a modification to Taylorism (Tamura, 2006). It was derived from a unique Japanese culture (Recht and Wilderom, 1998; Yoneyama, 2007; Liker and Hoseus, 2008) that permeates the mindset and behaviour of the Japanese from an early age (De Mente, 1976). In all likelihood, the uniqueness of these characteristics may have handicapped non-Japanese companies seeking to implement continuous improvement (Onglatco, 1985).
However, it has also been argued that the antecedents of continuous improvement did not originate in Japan, nor it is a new Japanese phenomenon. This postulate was also identified in many studies (e.g., Kono, 1982; Imai, 1986; Cusumano, 1988; Schroeder
and Robinson, 1991; Bessant et al., 1993; Recht and Wilderom, 1998; Dinero, 2005; Holweg, 2007), in which the authors discussed that continuous improvement was not peculiar to the Japanese. Many Western organisations were indeed the precursor of the modern improvement programme (e.g., incentive-driven suggestion systems in the West), as their implementations can be traced back to the 1800s (Bhuiyan and Baghel, 2005), or much earlier (Holweg, 2007).
Some early examples of the same include employee suggestion programme in the British Navy in 1770 (Graban and Swartz, 2012); the awards scheme for improvement in William Denny & Brothers, a Scottish shipbuilding company, in 1890 (Schwerin, 2004); the implementation of a suggestion-box improvement programme in the US National Cash Register Corporation in 1894 (Bessant et al., 1993); the idea of making improvements from the ‘hundred-headed brain’ from the Lincoln Electric (Schroeder and Robinson, 1991); and later Henry Ford’s insistence on making improvement in Ford’s Highland Park Plant (Ford, 1926). The early examples of quality control activities also proceeded rapidly in the West, explained by the development of the British Standard BS 600 for quality control in 1935 (Morrision, 1958); the American equivalent – America’s Z1 Standards – Guide for Quality Control in 1941 (Ishikawa, 1990); and the establishment of the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC or ASQ) in 1946 (American Society for Quality, 2012).
Figure 2.10 The PDCA Cycle (Deming, 1986)
It is also pertinent to mention, the Shewhart Cycle or the Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) Cycle (Figure 2.10), as a critical model and a major practice of improvement (Bakerjian and Mitchell, 1993), was originally developed by Walter Shewhart, an American physicist, engineer and statistician, in the 1930s (Shewhart, 1931). It was promoted within manufacturing industry (Shewhart, 1986) and established itself as most popular approach consequent to William Deming’s publications (e.g., Deming, 1950; Deming, 1982; Deming, 1986). This four-step process has now been universally adopted for problem- solving and formed the basis of Japanese continuous improvement (Bessant et al., 1994; Choi, 1995; Handyside, 1997, pp., p126-127; Bond, 1999; Watson et al., 2003) (Figure 2.11).
Figure 2.11 The cycle of Japanese continuous improvement (Suzaki, 1993, p96)
The Western improvement methods were introduced into Japan from the early 1900s (Saha, 1994; Choi and Liker, 1995; Recht and Wilderom, 1998).The Americans assisted Japan in rebuilding its economy post world war-II, through support for economic reforms and industrial development (Poropat and Kellett, 2009). The Economics and Scientific Section (ESS) group was created to develop Japanese management skills (Iguchi, 2003). The three Training within Industry (TWI) “J” programmes taught Job Instruction, Job Methods, and Job Relations (Dinero, 2005). The Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) introduced continuous improvement programmes (Ishikawa, 1990) conceived upon the best improvement methods from the West (Deming, 1950; Crocker et al., 1984; Inoue, 1985). The improvement methods then became integral to support the development of Japanese manufacturing industry (Saha, 1994).
The use of the improvement methods in Japan grew rapidly with the aid of Western management experts (e.g., Gilbreth and Carey, 1948; Deming, 1986; Juran, 1988). Poe (1991) postulated that the concepts of continuous improvement programmes were based on Japanese managers’ interpretations of the Western manufacturing philosophies. Japanese managers claimed to be responsive to new methods and ideas (Kono, 1982). They were quick to respond to foreign ideas and to implement them by conducting new
developmental research. For instance, in the 1950s, many early exemplary companies like Toshiba, Matsushita Electric, NEC, Canon and Toyota improvised their own branded improvement programmes to include both suggestion schemes and quality control circles (Cusumano, 1988; Schroeder and Robinson, 1991). Over the following twenty years, Japan became prominent in implementing continuous improvement (Schonberger, 1982a, pp., p52). They “set new standards of efficiency and started a revolution in manufacturing industry…” (Cusumano, 1988, p38). Therefore, the Japanese continuous improvement programme has a different track from the Western improvement programmes (Suzaki, 1993; Bartezzaghi, 1999; GRIPS, 2009) and includes some unique characteristics (i.e., continuous changes in small increments; based on two improvement practices; and requirement of shop floor management tools) (Ishikawa, 1980; Yasuda, 1989). The improvement programme plays an important role in Japanese economic development (Inoue, 1985), and has a Japanese name Kaizen (Imai, 1986).
The implementation of Japanese Kaizen
The Japanese are famous for implementing Kaizen (Schonberger, 1982a, pp., p52). This has helped Japanese manufacturing industry to achieve a high level of competitiveness over the past few decades (Hayes, 1981; Tamura, 2006; Aoki, 2008).
The traditional Western improvement programmes The Japanese Kaizen
Develop and implement by different people Proposals developed and implemented by
the same people
Management-led top-down process Management can either make suggestions individually or as a member of a QCC
One-off changes Incremental process
No clearly defined tools Based on PDCA cycle and statistical tools
Emphasis on suggestions for large improvements Focus on ideas various sizes of problems
Financial reward for proposers based upon improvement
outcomes Small financial reward mainly based on
Management approval needed before implementation Management approval only needed for
Management assessment is often delayed due to periodic
review processes Reviewed frequently in a timely manner
Table 2.2 Differences between the traditional Western improvement programmes and the Japanese Kaizen
The implementation of the Japanese Kaizen is different (Table 2.2) from its implementation in the West (Imai, 1986; Berger, 1997; Kerrin, 1999; Nilsson-Witell et al., 2005). Western improvement programmes generally emphasise improvement ideas for ‘one-off’ changes (Peter, 1990; Recht and Wilderom, 1998). They are management- led and top-down implementations (Graban and Swartz, 2012). The focus is usually on
large improvements which are often not implemented by the proposers (Nihon HR Ky?kai, 1995). The financial incentives are used to stimulate the participation (Yasuda, 1989), but they are commonly associated with the final improvement outcomes (Imai, 1986). The Western improvement programmes may suffer from low participation and low acceptance rates (Hull et al., 1988).
The Japanese Kaizen, on the other hand, is a “never ending” (Bond, 1999, p320), with a “top-down…and…bottom-up” framework (Bessant and Francis, 1999, p1109), “on- going improvement” (Imai, 1986, p3) “of a cumulative character” (Marin-Garcia et al., 2008, p57). It instils in everyone within the organisation (Peter, 1990; Terziovski and Sohal, 2000) a sense of responsibility for implementing improvements on a continuous basis (Monden, 1983), such as habitually providing both personal suggestions (Imai, 1986; Imai, 1997) and implementing group-based improvement activities (Handyside, 1997). Therefore, Japanese Kaizen is “not of the breakthrough variety, but incremental in nature” (Bessant and Caffyn, 1997, p10). It is “an organisational-wide process of focused and sustained incremental innovation” (Bessant and Francis, 1999, p1106); or “a habitual way of life in the organisation” (Handyside, 1997, p14) to develop both small and large improvement ideas. Management approval is only required for large improvement ideas, whilst small changes can be implemented without the prior approval of management (Crocker et al., 1984). Financial rewards are also used to boost participation (Imai, 1986; Kerrin, 1999).
Figure 2.12 The Japanese Kaizen, developed from the Japanese Human Relations Association (1997a)
As per the Japanese Human Relations Association (1997a), the implementation of Japanese Kaizen (Figure 2.12) includes two different improvement practices and is driven by a simple four-step (PDCA) method: (1) the identification of problems; (2) the
development of good solutions; (3) the implementation of those solutions; and (4) the standardisation of the improved results and prepare for future improvement (Recht and Wilderom, 1998; Masaki, 2006; Kupanhy, 2007; Toshiko and Shook, 2007).
The two practices are Quality Control Circle programmes (QCCs, group-based improvement programmes, QC (Ishikawa, 1980; Crocker et al., 1984;Ishikawa, 1985a; Suzaki, 1993) and Teians (Japanese for personal improvement suggestions/proposals,)(Yasuda, 1989; Nihon HR Ky?kai, 1995). These both can be applied to utilise improvement ideas (Marin-Garcia et al., 2008) for identifying, investigating, analysing and solving work-related problems (Kono,1982; Charantimath, 2003).
The differences between the two improvement practices
Taking into consideration the previous researches, the approach adopted for implementing these two practices is different in many ways. QCCs (or just QCs) comprise group-based activities that include a small number of volunteer employees. The group is small enough to allow face-to-face communication (Lillrank and Kano, 1989), i.e., between 5 to 15 members (Ma et al., 2010). They meet regularly (e.g., once per week) (Greenbaum et al., 1988; Lillrank and Kano, 1989; Sillince et al., 1996; Bacdayan, 2001) to exchange ideas and expertise for improvement (e.g., quality or costs of manufacturing, and health and safety of shop floor) (Terziovski and Sohal, 2000; Charantimath, 2003, pp., p293). They rely on cross-functional team (Bessant et al., 1994), support from line supervisors and top management (Prado, 2001; Milakovich, 2006) and focus on group decisions to develop improvement themes with specific and measurable goals (Landsbergis and Cahill, 1999; Doolen et al., 2008). In contrast, Teians offer a procedure for collecting and evaluating individual personal suggestions (Akaoka, 1983; Neagoe and Marascu_Klein, 2009). They are based on individuals’ willingness to make implementable (hands-on) improvement ideas (van Dijk and van Den Ende, 2002) which involves the completion of a Teian sheets (i.e., paper-based or electronic, Japan Human Relations Association, 1997a; Schuring and Luijten, 2001).
Figure 2.13 A QC story by Honda Motor Europe (1998, p14-15)
Figure 2.14 An example of a Teian Sheet from one of the case company archives
QCCs conceptualize improvement plans that are approved by management. They must follow an implementation procedure or standard pattern approach (i.e., QC story or QCC guide book) (Figure 2.13) (Akaoka, 1983; Inoue, 1985; Ho, 1999, pp., p161; Farris, 2006). In contrast, Teians collect personal improvement sheets which relate to previously implemented solutions and outcomes (Figure 2.14) (Akaoka, 1983; Nihon HR Ky?kai, 1995). Although both QCCs and Teians can be used for producing work-related improvements, they have separate scales. QCCs are formal improvement bodies (Lillrank and Kano, 1989) and mainly implement improvement on a department- wide/ company-wide basis (Inoue, 1985; Terziovski and Sohal, 2000; Harrington, 2006), as these changes are part of or linked with the company’s long-term total quality control activities (Ishikawa, 1990; Charantimath, 2003). Some of the QCC themes are designed for problem solving (i.e., improving the quality of goods), others are desired to make innovative changes to shop floor/workplaces on a continuous basis (i.e., to introduce new machinery or production techniques to increase productivity) (Ishikawa, 1990; Milakovich, 2006). In contrast, Teians are intended to resolve local problems within the proposers’ immediate working area (i.e., production shop floor) (Nihon HR Ky?kai, 1995, pp., p5). Almost all of these problems are small-scale and thus any improvement made is simple (Marin-Garcia et al., 2008) and commonly based on hands-on knowledge (Yasuda, 1989).
Figure 2.15 Ishikawa’s 7 QC Tools, adopted from Pescod (1994, p12)
Thus, the different degrees of change, require different knowledge and skills for implementation. The group-based QCCs require members to have a good knowledge of
improvement (Toshiko and Shook, 2007) and use Ishikawa’s QC statistical tools (Figure 2.15) for the development of the improvement themes (Ishikawa, 1980; JUSE, 2010), whereas, Teians are very much dependent on participants’ shop floor experience and production skills.
QCCs and Teians differ in their implementation time-frames as well. Although the implementation follows Deming’s PDCA cycle continuously (Figure 2.16), most of the QCC projects have defined time limits (Harrington, 2006, pp., p14). They have pre-set targets and expected outcomes (Ishikawa, 1990; Terziovski and Sohal, 2000), and aim to be finished within predetermined duration (Kerrin and Oliver, 2002; Rapp and Eklund, 2002); e.g, 6 months, or no more than a year (Honda Motor, 1998), as a new QCC project will probably need to be started afterwards (Ma et al., 2010). However, the end result of a QCC is not an actual improvement, but an action plan for change which is then presented to management for approval (Crocker et al., 1984; Cohen and Bailey, 1997). The Teians, in contrast to QCCs, are genarally applied immediately to make gradual changes and only after implementation the change details are recorded for evaluation. Each of the changes may be small, but they can be exceptionally well managed (Rapp and Eklund, 2002) and implemented on a continuous basis (Nihon HR Ky?kai, 1995).
Figure 2.16 Team-based improvement (e.g., QCC) implementation follows Deming’s PDCA cycle continuously (Wood and Munshi, 1991, p220)
QCCs and Teians use different reward methods to motivate participation (Recht and Wilderom, 1998; Kerrin and Oliver, 2002; Milakovich, 2006) (Table 2.3), and are evaluated differently by a committee of mangers (Yasuda, 1989; Frese et al., 1999). In contrast, rewards for Teians are based on improvement participation (Nihon HR Ky?kai, 1995; Fairbank and Williams, 2001). A Teian suggestion is based upon improvements that record what has been done on the proposers’ (Imai, 1986; Tamura, 2006) “immediate work area” (Nihon HR Ky?kai, 1995, p5). Hence, the emphasis of Teians should be on “proposing ideas that workers could implement themselves”, not just “suggesting for improvement” (Nihon HR Ky?kai, 1995, p18), as “Kaizen Teians is doing, not proposing suggestions” (Laraia et al., 1999, p6). In this sense, rewards for Teians are given to motivate participation (Bessant and Francis, 1999). A few Teians may have bigger rewards, but the majority are given at a fixed-rate to the individual proposer (Japan Human Relations Association, 1997a; Milakovich, 2006). In contrast, although the volunteer participation in QCCs is also critical (Crocker et al., 1984), rewards are not directly offered to the meetings but based on the utility of the end results (Ma, 2008; Marin-Garcia et al., 2008; Ma et al., 2010). QCCs aim to make comparatively larger changes that are based on specified improvement goals (i.e. themes) (Ishikawa, 1990; Milakovich, 2006). Thus, the actual improvement outcomes are compared against the specified goals (Lillrank and Kano, 1989), with rewards given to the accepted themes (Recht and Wilderom, 1998), and based on the improvement achieved (Allen and Kilmann, 2001). Rewards for QCCs are given to the group (Kerrin and Oliver, 2002), rather than to individuals (Crocker et al., 1984).
Results Improvement outcomes Participation
Objects Group Individuals
Forms Monetary and non-monetary reward Fixed-rate money reward
Table 2.3 Differences between the rewards given to QCCs and Teians, concluded from Milakovich (2006), Yasuda (1989), Lillrank and Kano (1989) and Ma et al. (2010)
On the basis of above comparisons, these two types of improvement practices have different modes of conduct and could result in different outcomes. The improvements made by QCCs could result in surprising and innovative changes. These are implemented with clear and measurable department/company-wide improvement targets and are usually implemented on a one-off basis. On the other hand, the improvements made by Teians are always small. They are concerned with proposers’ immediate surrounding area, and are expected to be implemented continuously.
The Different Perspectives on the Relationship between the Two Improvement Practices
Although the different features of the two improvement practices have been clearly delineated, their roles in supporting long-term improvement outcomes remain hazy. At least, four perspectives of the significance of the two practices have been identified in previous studies. They are discussed in the following sections.
Shingo’s perspective on continuous improvement
According to Shingo (1987; 1988), the main difference between the two improvement practices is one of orientation. From Shingo’s perspective, the Japanese Kaizen is not simply a type of improvement with non-stop effort but also it places an emphasis on the idea of better processes to gain better results.
As Shingo perceived, the different emphases come from the differences in defining the manufacturing processes. As per the Association for Operations Management, manufacturing may be defined as “a process involved in converting inputs into finished goods” (APICS Dictionary 9th Edition, 1998, p75). Such a process could consist of more than one sub-processes (e.g., linear, parallel, coupled sub-processes, etc.), and each sub-process can have its own output (Koskela, 1992). Complying this, an improvement can be made either on the larger process or on each smaller individual sub-process, since the size of the unit of analysis is the only difference between them (Shingo and Bodek, 1988). As a result of this, improvement activities could have been focused more on the sub-processes (Liker and Hoseus, 2008). This is due to the reason that the outputs of each sub-process’ improvement could be seen more easily than that of the overall process improvement (Liker, 2004).
Shingo criticised this type of improvement activity in many of his studies (e.g., Shingo and Bodek, 1988; Shingo, 1990; Shingo, 1992). He started with a different interpretation of the composition of a production system: “production activities may best be understood as networks of processes and operations not sub-processes” (Shingo, 1987, p7). A process is “the flow of products from one worker or machine to another, that is, the stages through which raw materials gradually move to become finished products” (Figure 2.17); an operation is “the discrete stage at which a worker may work on different products” (Shingo and Bodek, 1988, p5). This critical observation has viewed materials as the objects of the work which determine the process. The workers are the subjects of the work that decide the operations. In this way, the process may be viewed as the individual machining procedure related to the flow of materials, whereas the operation could be identified in terms of local working methods, used by workers on one machine or several machines. Thus, the improvement of operations may generate local results, but may not necessarily lead to holistic process improvement, since a process is not a collection of operations; rather they lie along intersecting axes (Shingo, 1989; Shingo, 1990; Shingo, 1992).
Figure 2.17 The intersecting of holistic process & local operations in a production (Shingo and Bodek, 1988, p4)
This interpretation was later popularised by many subsequent studies. For example, Evans et al. (1990) and Liker and Hoseus (2008) articulated as a process sequences, having a number of operations, to create a production system. Hence, a process refers to a way of doing things or creating a material flow (Koskela, 1992). Buffa and Sarin (1987, p6) also emphasised that operations are only “some local steps in the overall process”, in which the operations should be treated as a series of local production activities. Womack and Jones (1996) also observed that a process is a way to transform materials into products (goods or services), whereas operations are some individual jobs or tasks that are performed by workers (on the machines). More recently, Slack et al. (2007, p93) observed that “different operations, even those in the same operation, may adopt different types of processes”. In this way, “the important thing is to think of new work methods, not to make new tools or equipment to increase local efficiencies” (Ohno, 1988b, p122).
This is simply because the change of a holistic process would result in the change of local operations, but not necessarily vice versa (Isatto and Formoso, 1998, pp., p31; Liker, 2004). For example, even some significant improvements to some operations may only have a minimal effect on the overall process; only a process driven improvement can result in a thorough change of production (Murman et al., 2002).
Following this perspective, improvements should be executed with a focus on changes in the holistic process. As Shingo concluded, “in improving production, process phenomena should be given top priority” (Shingo, 1989, p26). In this context, QCCs should add more value to improvement results than Teians, since QCCs can produce holistic, system-wide process improvement as well as changes to individual operations. In contrast, Teians are types of improvement that are solely based on participants’ personal working area and focus on small changes. Thus, these are less likely to generate holistic process changes.
Imai’s perspective on continuous improvement
Nevertheless, Imai’s findings showed a different perspective on comparing different improvement practices. Imai viewed change to be either incremental or radical (Imai, 1986; Imai, 1997).
Innovation (Kaikaku) Kaizen
Effect Short-term but dramatic Long-term and long lasting but undramatic
Pace Big steps Small steps
Timeframe Intermittent and non-incremental Continuous and incremental
Change Abrupt and volatile Gradual and constant
Involvement Select few ‘champions’ Everybody
Approach Rugged individualism, individual ideas and
efforts Collectivism, group efforts, systems
Mode Scrap and rebuild Maintenance and improvement
Spark Technological breakthroughs new inventions
and new theories Conventional know-how and state of the
Practical requirements Requires large investment but little effort to maintain it Requires little investment but great effort to maintain it
Effort orientation Technology People
Evaluation criteria Results for profits Process and efforts for better results
Advantages Better suited to fast-growth economy Works well in slow-growth economy
Table 2.4 Differences between Kaikaku and Kaizen by Imai (1986, p24)
In contrast to Shingo’s perspective, Imai differentiated between different types of improvement activities on the basis of their implementation time-frames and orientation (Table 2.4). As per Imai, improvement activities can be classified as being continuous or one-off improvements. Continuous improvement is process-oriented and is called Kaizen in Japanese. It emphasises on the course of the implementation and aims to create cumulative results from an on-going and incremental change process. The one-off improvement is results-oriented and it is called innovation or Kaikaku in Japanese. It is identified by its discontinuous and innovative results. Its implementation may need large financial investment to make some path breaking alterations. This perspective has also received quite a large amount of recognition (Choi and Liker, 1995; Terziovski, 2002, pp., p6). Handyside (1997, pp., p16) articulated that ‘Kaizen’ and ‘Kaikaku’ represent two fundamental approaches to improvement. Bond (1999, p1320) observed that “improvement can be categorised as either incremental small change (Kaizen) or innovative step change (Kaikaku)”. Bateman (2003; 2005) also classified the improvement activities in accordance with different implementing time-frames.
Authors On-going and process-oriented terms One-off and results-oriented terms
Process quality Product quality
Quality as process Quality as results
Process-oriented thinking Results-oriented thinking
Quality improvement Quality planning
Productive maintenance Preventive maintenance
Dertouzos et al. (1989)
Incremental product design Innovative product design
Manufacturing driven management Profit driven management
Conservative Changes Dramatic results
Table 2.5 The summary of the two improvement orientations based on Choi and Liker (1995, p594)
Table 2.5 summarises previous research that has contrasted long-term and process- oriented Kaizen to short-term and results-oriented Kaikaku. Figure 2.18 compares the influence of these approaches on long-term improvements (Huda, 1992; Nelson et al., 1998; Liker and Hoseus, 2008; Browning and Heath, 2009).
Figure 2.18 The two types of improvement, adopted from Nelson et al. (1998, p42)
Kaizen is a continuous and incremental process (Bateman and David, 2002). The emphasis is on the involving everyone (Bhuiyan and Baghel, 2005, pp., p761) to make suggestions that produce small changes (Harrington, 1995) using common sense (Nihon HR Ky?kai, 1995) and low-cost (Bond, 1999) methods over a prolonged period (Laraia et al., 1999, pp., p2). In this way, although each small and on-going change in Kaizen “may not have a measurable impact, the cumulative effect can be quite profound” (Choi and Liker, 1995, p590), “which in the end produce important and lasting results” (Marin-Garcia et al., 2008, p57).
On the other hand, Kaikaku is a discontinuous and breakthrough improvement approach (Bodek, 2004), that makes dramatic alterations (Hines et al., 2004), and creates radical change (Harrington, 1995; Bhuiyan and Baghel, 2005). It requires significant investment in capital (Terziovski and Sohal, 2000; Terziovski, 2002), new technologies or equipment (Nihon HR Ky?kai, 1995, pp., p8) and can take a long time (Sayer and Williams, 2012) to make “a large and fundamental change of policy, practice, or awareness” (Bodek, 2004, pix). Handyside (1997, p16) observed that Kaikaku is “usually characterised by revolutionary new processes, advanced technologies and high capital investment”.
Thus, the high cost, short-term radical step Kaikaku, as opposed to the on-going Kaizen, could easily jeopardise the whole improvement process (Soltero and Waldrip, 2002), as doubling the production line needs more investment, but does not necessarily double productivity (Krafcit, 1988). Bateman (2002; 2003) also observed that a discontinuous improvement activity is easy to adopt (i.e., the universal crash courses), but it would also easily erode back to the pre-improvement level.
Figure 2.19 Comparison of breakthroughs and continuous improvement, adopted from Suzaki (1993, p133)
In this way, which is different from Shingo’s perspective, improvement should be carried out with an stress on the small changes, as they can be implemented continuously, need less cost and always have long term outcomes (Figure 2.19). Hence, Teians should be applied more than QCCs for running continuous improvement. Teians, as they have been discussed above, are small, simple and instant changes that can be made continuously. These are highly dependent on participants’ shop floor experience and skills and require very little or no monetary support. The QCCs, in contrast, could be implemented for producing department/company-wide changes. These require more support (e.g., finance, management, and supervisors), ought to be based on collective ideas, and require approval of managers; thus invariently take a longer time to finish (e.g., 6-12 months for a QCC theme). These are, therefore, comparatively more difficult to be implemented on a continuous basis.
An extension to Imai’s perspective on continuous improvement
A few studies have investigated the mutual relationship between Kaizen and Kaikaku on the basis of their outcomes. As per Imai’s findings, the two types of improvement could result in different improvement outcomes, and evidently, the outcomes from Kaizen can cause the outcomes from Kaikaku, but not vice versa. For example, Lillrank and Kano (1989) observed that process-oriented improvement is construed to cause results-oriented output, whilst process-oriented outcomes cannot be achieved without a relevant process improvement. This was in line with two other subsequent studies, ” getting the process under control, results are automatically improved” (Huda, 1992, p10) as “processes must be improved for results to improve” (Liker and Hoseus, 2008, pxxix).
Again, this perspective was furthered to the quality improvements in many studies, as quality improvements require process changes (Utterback and Abernathy, 1975). For example, Deming (1986) observed a sharp distinction between process- orientation manufacturing and goal-orientation manufacturing. He articulated that quality can either be a company process or goal, but quality as a company goal could only “lead to the achievement at the price of inspection and dismal productivity”, only “the improvements in the processes could lead to quality as a natural consequence” (Choi and Liker, 1995, p592). A very similar finding can be found in one of Juran’s (1988)
studies. He contrasted the differences between process-driven and goal-driven improvements and came to conclusion that process-driven improvements could produce a real quality change, whilst goal-driven improvement could only generate redefined strategic plans. Schonberger (1982a) investigated the various impacts of the two orientations on the relationship between quality and productivity improvement. He observed that only quality as a process could produce productivity changes, while productivity as a result would not necessarily generate quality changes. Another major study by Ishikawa’s (1985b) demonstrated the impact of the different orientations by linking them to produce quality improvement. He proposed that developing a quality process should be a prerequisite to quality results, as only the quality improvement in the process could lead en route to the creation of a quality product.
Thus, quality improvement need to be built into the course of the improvement activities, but not treated as the end-result. Both QCCs and Teians are capable of producing quality improvements. QCCs were basically established to produce quality processes, but when they are implemented with pre-set improvement targets, the improvement might focus more on the results than the process. Teians, in contrast, focus on the course of changes and hence, should have a greater impact on quality improvement.
The perspective of mutually inclusiveness of the two improvement practices In spite of the dramatic differences, a few previous studies have proposed that Kaizen and Kaikaku may need to be employed in conjunction with each another to achieve the full benefits of improvement (Kono, 1982; Huda, 1992; Elger and Smith, 1994; Bicheno, 2001; Bodek, 2004; Bessant et al., 2005; Jones, 2005; Gåsvaer and von Axelson, 2012). For example, Handyside (1997, p18) observed that “innovation Kaikaku and Kaizen are not mutually exclusive alternatives. Neither one nor the other is sufficient to give an organisation a competitive edge in world markets…Kaizen is the superstructure which, when added to the capabilities of shared technologies Kaikaku, makes the crucial difference”. In reality, Kaikaku and Kaizen are actually “complementary” to each other rather than being “mutually exclusive” (Bond, 1999, p1320). This is in line with a study by Bessant et al. (1994, p18), who concluded that “continuous improvement Kaizen is a powerful tool and one which unlocks a neglected source of organisational
innovation Kaikaku”. Recently, a combination of these two methods, namely Kakushin (Japanese for perpetual improvement,), has been implemented by Toyota (Kondou, 2003; Stewart and Raman, 2007; Yamamoto, 2010; Shamshurin, 2011).
On the contrary, Kaikaku is good at solving one-off problems (Bhuiyan and Baghel, 2005). It provides an opportunity for dramatically improving productivity and product quality by using new technology (Imai, 1986; Bessant et al., 1994; Radharamanan et al., 1996; Handyside, 1997; Imai, 1997; Terziovski and Sohal, 2000). Nevertheless, this too has some drawbacks, on account of which,t implementing innovation may become costlier (require monetary, management, and line supervisors’ support) and riskier (the results may easily erode back to the pre-improvement level) in the long-run (Figure 2.20).
Figure 2.20 The improvement via Kaikaku only, adopted from Imai (1986, p26)
In contrast, Kaizen is a long-term and incremental improvement process. It requires very little or no investment. It causes less resistance (Imai, 1986; Imai, 1997, pp., p89). Nevertheless, it requires more personal skills and experience for its implementation. It may also take a longer time to make large and holistic changes (Shingo, 1987; Shingo and Bodek, 1988).
Figure 2.21 The mutually inclusion of Kaizen and Kaikaku in order to improve end-result based on Imai (1986, p18)
Hence, as suggested, in order to get more comprehensive improvement outcomes, QCCs and Teians should be implemented together as a company-wide Kakushin (Bessant et al., 1994; Savolainen, 1999; Murata, 2007) (Figure 2.21).
A new manufacturing system was developed by Toyota in Japan. It was named the TPS to begin with, but now the term ‘Lean Production’ is universally accepted and used to describe its ‘Lean nature’. Lean Production is well known for reducing costs while maintaining quality. It was a successor to Mass Production.
The Japanese philosophy of perfection in manufacturing industry intends to improve the production system continuously but, there is confusion between processes and operations in terms of improving the production system. Many studies have demonstrated that process and operation represent two types of activities in a production system; the process is a sequence of operations. The switch over from conventional production to the TPS or Lean Production has proved to be a process improvement.
Sustaining Kaizen continuously is one of the key features in the Japanese manufacturing industry but, the implementation of Kaizen has proved to be difficult. In particular, different perspectives on implementing Kaizen were identified from previous research.
The next chapter introduces the Lean shop floor management tools. It critically examines and analyses their functionality, implementation method and explains their roles in supporting the implementation of Kaizen.