Kaizen, Japanese for “improvement” or “change for the best”, refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, and business management.
I like it when things work well and when they don’t it’s time to revisit what I wanted in the first place and start looking for ways to make sure that my goals and the means for achieving those goals are still aligned. I know this is a bit abstract, so let’s take a look at a specific instance in my business where I needed to make a BIG adjustment because I saw specific room for improvement. The pain point was my hosting server. The back story is that I have been hosting and reselling for a company for nearly 8 years and up until about 1 and half years ago, I was pleased as punch with their service. But I started to notice a decline in all of these things I valued so much. I became a squeaky wheel and contacted the account managers on a regular basis to let them know what wasn’t working and what I and my 70+ clients would need to be able to continue working with them. No improvements were made. As much as I was not looking forward to moving to a new hosting company, it became painfully obvious that I needed to embrace the Kaizen way and make a “good change”.
In business, and especially in technology, it’s imperative that we continuously look for ways to make good change. And instead of being afraid of change and the temporary discomfort it might bring, I like embracing the principles of Kaizen to empower the notion that change is not only good, but actually needed in order to be competitive.
Because I like charts and bullet points, here’s a quick look at how Toyota adopted the Kaizen principles.
- Standardize an operation and activities,
- Measure the operation (find cycle time and amount of in-process inventory).
- Gauge measurements against requirements.
- Innovate to meet requirements and increase productivity.
- Standardize the new, improved operations.
- Continue cycle ad infinitum.
Now that I’m 100% committed to moving all of my websites to a new server, which is about as time consuming as moving an office space and about 70 people, I’m grateful that I’ve embraced good change, giving me and my clients a competitive advantage with better performing hosting services that will give us a competitive advantage with our websites.