It’s Time to Rethink Continuous Improvement – (blog)

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Who else is shocked by a phrase like “Six Sigma, Kaizen, Lean, and other variations on continuous improvement…”?

Since when is Lean a variation on continuous improvement? Instead, continuous improvement is a component of Lean, which includes many features that are not continuous improvement.

Kaizen does not belong in a list in parallel with Lean. It literally means “improvement” and is used in Japan to mean continuous improvement. In other words, this entry in the list refers to the list itself.

Six Sigma is a method developed at Motorola in the US to solve process capability issues and is not continuous improvement.

Is it one more list patterned after Borges’s classification of animals?

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2 comments on “It’s Time to Rethink Continuous Improvement – (blog)

  1. Oftentimes continuous improvement is taught in a “cult” like manner rather than as a practical problem solving tool. Why saying something in Japanese carries so much more weight than simple English I’ll never know. I’ve been guilty of this myself. As academics I’m sure its important and relevant which is a subset of the other lean or continuous improvement. But those at ground zero of the lean journey you know the butcher, the baker and candlestick maker just want to see results! Are their jobs better can they feel and see results.

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