The Japanese term Kaizen is an integration of two words “kai” and “zen” and their meanings are “change” and “better.” Kaizen follows the ideology of making small, incremental, and continuous improvements in the system and processes to achieve efficiency and effectiveness. Today, we’ll discuss the Kaizen change management model; its definition, Kaizen change management steps involved in the process; benefits and challenges of Kaizen change model examples.
Masaaki Imai, a Japanese consultant first developed the philosophy and ideology of “Kaizen” in his book “The Key to Japan Competitive Success: Kaizen” in 1986. The term Kaizen received significant publicity and popularity in the Western world; businesses and companies started implementing it in their systems and processes.
What is the Kaizen Change Management Model?
Kaizen change management model follows the ideology of making a continuous improvement that focuses on making incremental and small changes in the system and process to receive efficient and effective results. It promotes commitment, respect for people, and teamwork for continuous improvement and growth.
However, the Kaizen change model follows the structured strategic approach that focuses on recognizing the weak areas that need improvement; establishing and launching solutions, and evaluating the performance or impact of the solution. The design of the Kaizen model is adaptable and flexible and various businesses and companies could apply it in their processes like services, healthcare, and manufacturing industries.
Steps Involved in Kaizen Change Management Model with Example
Let’s discuss the main steps involved in the Kaizen change management model example or Kaizen change management steps; they’re as follows;
The first Kiazen change management model step is planning and it means recognizing the weak areas that need improvement and establishing a strategic plan to deal with them. The planning stage comprises establishing goals and objectives, evaluating processes, and collecting data. However, it plays a key role in developing grounds for the change process and makes sure that the team members are familiar with the goals of the change project.
I-Healthcare Industry Example: High Waiting Time in Emergency Unit
A hospital recognizes the fact that the patient waiting time is very long in the emergency unit. It results in the form of potential negative health issues and poor customer satisfaction levels. The hospital would collect data in the planning stage; analyze various processes that would cause long waiting times and take actionable steps to decrease it. The change team comprises administrators, doctors, nurses, and staff members to bring improvements. The team would perform the following roles;
- Improvement plan
- Redesigning the structure of the emergency unit
- Offering training to team members
- Launching new triage protocols
However, the team would employ value stream analysis tools, equipment, maps, processes, and flowcharts to recognize the weak and inefficient areas in the emergency unit. In order to gather feedback from customers, it is significant to study focus groups and conduct surveys.
The Kaizen change management step would focus on executing the already developed change plan. It comprises offering training to employees about the new procedures and processes and testing the proposed changes on a small scale. However, it provides workers and team members an opportunity to validate their assumptions and concerns and make sure that the proposed changes are effective and feasible.
I-Healthcare Industry Example: Executing Proposed Changes
The change team recognized the fact that the patient waiting time was high in the emergency unit. They developed a plan to decrease the waiting time, and it is now time to implement the proposed changes; they’re as follows;
- Redesigning the structural layout of the emergency unit
- Executing new triage protocols
- Training employees to efficiently perform their processes
The change team would execute the change plan on a small scale before implementing it on a mass scale. It means testing the new structure and layout of the emergency unit with a few number of employees or launching the new triage protocols with limited patients. It allows the change team members to recognize issues and problems.
After testing the change plan and validating its results, the team would offer training to the rest of the workforce about the new procedures and protocols. It comprises of taking the following steps;
- Offering training
- Conducting simulation
- Preparing SOPs and training material for the job
- Making sure a smooth transition
The checking Kaizen change model step comprises evaluating the impact of the implemented changes. It consists of gathering data, analyzing results, and knowing whether the executed changes have delivered the desired outcomes or not. This stage would make sure that the improvement is sustainable and beneficial for the company over time.
I-Healthcare Industry Example: Analyzing Results
The change team would analyze the results whether the customer waiting time has decreased or not by gathering the latest data and comparing it with the initial data baseline in the planning stage. The change team also analyzes other metrics, and they’re as follows;
- Positive impact of the change
- Operational efficiency
- Morale and motivation level of employees and team members
- Satisfaction level of patients
However, the change team found out that the patient waiting time has decreased by 50% and increment in customer satisfaction level. The collected data explains that the changes have been successful and sustainable in the checking stage.
The act Kaizen change model step comprises standardizing the changes and combining them with the organizational processes and culture. It focuses on executing the changes permanently in the long term, training new protocols to the team employees, and documenting the new processes and procedures.
I-Hospital Example: Establishing SOPs
The change team has realized the fact that the implemented changes have been successful in decreasing the patient waiting time and achieving efficiency. Now, they have to develop SOPs (standard operating procedures) for the emergency unit and document the changes. Additionally, it comprises of taking the following steps;
- Developing training materials like e-learning and modules
- Embedding the changes with organizational culture
- Rewards and incentives for successful implementation of the changes
- Encouraging and promoting new behavior
- Communicating with stakeholders about the benefits of changes
The sustaining Kaizen change model step comprises continuously monitoring and evaluating the results to make sure that the changes are sustainable in the long term. It comprises of developing processes and systems to evaluate changes and find opportunities for further improvements.
I-Hospital Example: Monitoring Results for Further Improvement
The change team has successfully documented the new procedures and SOPs and embedded the changes with the organizational culture. Now, the change team is developing a system to analyze patient waiting time and find ways to make improvements over time and make it sustainable.
In fact, the change team has developed a quality improvement (QI) unit to analyze the performance of the emergency department and find opportunities for further improvements. The QI unit would receive patient feedback and make adjustments as part of its continuous improvement plan.
Benefits of the Kaizen Change Model
Some of the main benefits and advantages of the Kaizen change management model example are as follows;
- Focuses on bringing permanent, long-term, and sustainable changes in the processes and culture of the company
- Highly cost-efficient by avoiding heavy costs associated with mass scale changes and makes small improvements over time
- Delivers small and incremental improvements quickly and speedily and they boost the morale and confidence level of employees and workers
- Improves employee engagement by encouraging them to express their suggestion and views about change
- Promotes the culture of small and continuous improvement of products and processes
- Brings small and continuous improvements rather than mega changes
Challenges of the Kaizen Change Model
Some of the challenges and disadvantages of the Kaizen change model example are as follows;
- Not suitable and applicable for all types of businesses and companies
- Puts overemphasis on process improvement rather than addressing mega problems like lack of innovation and creativity
- Employee resistance to the change initiative decreases the change execution process
- Only fixes the small issues of the product and avoids the big picture of the company and mega organizational problems
- Slow and increment Kaizen change management steps aren’t sufficient; sometimes company needs a quick response while facing a crisis; The Kaizen change model won’t work in such situations
Conclusion: Kaizen Change Management Model |Kaizen Change Management Steps with Examples
After an in-depth study of the Kaizen change management model with examples; we have realized that the Kaizen change model is highly significant for businesses and companies. If you are learning about the Kaizen change model step and Kaizen change example; then you should keep in mind the abovementioned steps, examples, benefits, and changes.
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