From November 11 – November 17, Kaizen training was provided by Federal TVET Agency trainers to all PROJECT-E’s Hospitality Institute employees in the quest to develop kaizen knowledge, abilities and professional qualities in our staff.
The Kaizen training course was divided into theory based workshops and practical ones. In the classroom lectures we learned the definition & philosophy of kaizen, and the principles of 5s (i.e. the three types of waste – Muda, Mura, Muri – and the quality control circle). In the practical workshops we applied what we had learned in the classroom.
Definition & Philosophy
But what is Kaizen? In Japanese, kaizen means “change for the better”, or “improvement”. The concept first developed in Japan and later spread to the rest of the world. Kaizen focuses on how people work. It shows how workers can change their mindset to gradually and methodically improve their productivity. It is a Japanese business philosophy that, when applied to business activities, entails continuous improvement of all operations while involving all employees (from CEOs to assembly line workers). However, it is not just a management technique, but a philosophy which instructs humans on how to conduct our lives to better our social and home life as well as our professional career.
The Principle of 5s, Muda, Mura, Muri and the Quality control circle (QCC) are all part of the Kaizen philosophy, and are a way of showing us how to implement Kaizen in the workplace. The principle of 5s is a workplace organization method that is based on the following 5 Japanese words: Seiri (sort), Seiton (set in order), Seisou (shine), Seiketsu (standardize) and Shitsuke (sustain). The principle expresses the notion of organizing a work space to achieve efficiency and effectiveness by identifying and storing the items used, maintaining the area and items, and sustaining the new order. The decision-making process usually comes from a dialogue about standardization, which builds an understanding among employees on how they should do the work.
Muda, Mura and Muri refer to different types of waste and inefficiency within an organization. The QCC are small groups consisting of front-line employees who continually and collectively find a problem and discuss on alternative remedies to control and improve the quality of their work, products and services.
Aftermath of Kaizen training
As part of the Kaizen training, we were divided into pairs, and asked to implement the concept of kaizen in our class rooms, offices, laboratories, stairways and libraries. We tried to organize our working environment and minimize resource waste, so that we can boost our productivity at PROJECT-E. As Project Manager Achamyelesh Shalemo put it, “we have now agreed that, both as individuals and as a group, we will take responsibility to better all the work areas of the Institute. Within three days of Kaizen training, visible changes took place, and everybody is busy trying to contribute for the attractiveness of our institution”.