Kaizen vs Kaikaku

Kaizen vs Kaikaku

By Venanzio Figliolino

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Kaizen vs Kaikaku

Kaikaku is a lean production term that means radical change, transformation, a revolution. It means radical overhaul of an activity to eliminate all waste (muda in Japanese) and create greater value. It is a rapid and radical change process.

In lean terms, there are two kinds of improvement.

  • Kaizen is evolutionary, focused on incremental improvements.

  • Kaikaku is revolutionary, focused on radical improvements

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Kaikaku is a breakthrough rapid and radical improvement, of any activity, It is similar to radical innovation, though innovation is not necessary for Kaikaku.

Kaikaku is also known as Breakthrough KaizenKaizen Blitz, Flow Kaizen and System Kaizen 

Kaikaku-Kaizen  Synergy 

Kaikaku is sought in addition to Kaizen, not in place of Kaizen. 

Kaikaku is a rapid change event as opposed to Kaizen which is smaller incremental improvements. Kaikaku is revolutionary while Kaizen is evolutionary.

Kaikaku sometimes used as a precursor to Kaizen activities. Kaizen is essential for a long-term  lean transformation

Kaikaku is necessary to break paradigms and elevate the awareness of people to a higher level of understanding. When approaching a problem situation, it might require radical improvement to start with (Kaikaku), then be continuously improved.

Without Kaizen you are building Kaikaku on sandy foundations. Andvice versa.  

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Kore 10 Kaikaku Tips

  1. Strive to amaze your  customers, both internal and external; ask yourself "What would an ideal customer experience be?" and look for ways to make maximum contribution to that ideal state

  2. Develop a creative dissatisfactionmindset;  ask yourself  "What would an ideal process or workshop look like?" and search for opportunities to make radical improvements

  3. Look for opportunities to do much more with much less; apply the 80/20 Principle to everything 

  4. See problems as opportunities to make things radically better and to hone your  winning skills for creative problem solving

  5. Challenge assumptions and the status quo; recognize that the current practicemay entrap people in old ways of seeing and thinking

  6. Take different  perceptual positions and look at the current practice with new eyes; ask "Why and What If?" questions

  7. Know how to sell your radical ideas to other stakeholders and how to overcome resistance to change.

  8.  Brainstorm creative solutions with your group; go wild; think outside the box; look for  synergies

  9. Think positively and act promptly ‒ start improving things and learn as you go 

  10. Follow the radical improvement action (Kaikaku) with continuous small improvements (Kaizen)

Venanzio Figliolino

Venanzio Figliolino

Process Excellence Lead & Founder of Lean Six Sigma Community
About me

Management engineer with 15+ years of experiences in multinational companies, employed in different roles but with common goals: Continuos Improvement, processes standardization &...

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Venanzio Figliolino

Process Excellence Lead & Founder of Lean Six Sigma Community

Management engineer with 15+ years of experiences in multinational companies, employed in different roles but with common goals: Continuos Improvement, processes standardization & optimization.

I'm trainer and consultant about Lean & Six Sigma methodologies, I love to help organizations to improve their performances in terms of times/costs/defects/spaces reductions.

I founded Lean Six Sigma University & Community, two synergic projects developed for creating a common place where learn and divulgate knowledges about Lean and Six Sigma methodologies applied to different ambits.

The application of Lean & Six Sigma methods are not simply methods learned and applied, it is a cultural change.