A Japanese term for “continuous improvement,” Kaizen’s quality-driven processes strive to make small, useful, gradual improvements over time to help minimize waste, simplify and standardize processes, and foster an open dialogue. Recognized globally for nurturing a collaborate work environment and propelling quality, productivity, and efficiency, Kaizen encourages and values input from every employee in the workplace—from the CEO to the intern on the warehouse floor.

The importance of comprehensive, job-specific work instructions to reduce safety and quality concerns and help employees perform tasks with the utmost proficiency cannot be underestimated. How do you improve job-specific work instructions to ensure the job function in question is performed safely, consistently, and accurately? Standardize the work by following Kaizen’s proven PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) approach to solve problems and drive improvements in the workplace:


  1. Identify the problem – Start with a thorough process audit. This audit should be viewed like a health and wellness check-up. This step requires a thorough examination and review of all documentation (in this example, job-specific work instructions). Ask for input from your team to help validate whether the work instructions are complete or need revisions. Encourage suggestions that will maximize productivity and eliminate any red flags or safety concerns. Are the instructions easy to understand and follow? Are the instructions supported with helpful visual aids such as diagrams or pictures? It is critical to answer questions like these.

2. Analyze the situation – This step is where the work actually happens. By evaluating the current state and gathering valuable data and details, the root cause or issue can be revealed. Process mapping may also take place. Targets can be set to remedy the problem and drive improvements.

  • Analyze the situation part 2 – Take a deeper dive into the situation. What really is the root of the concern? Narrow the scope and answer the following question: What can be done to drive the change that will fix the issue?
  1. Setting goals – Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals to address the problem identified.


  1. Develop and execute the implementation plan – Key activities allow for the target or goal to be reached.


  1. Evaluate – Evaluate the goal or target achievement (if target is not met, additional countermeasures must be addressed). Turn the plans into action items and reevaluate again.


  1. Institutionalize – Formalize and cement the changes through work instructions, metric tracking, and training through the work instructions. Get the entire group up to speed on the new process. This step might also include metrics or some type of visual tracking.

7. Shared opportunities – Share with the greater team that Kaizen was completed and its positive impact on the business. Determine if the changes can be deployed in other business areas. Repeat the process, if necessary. Reevaluate, as needed, as conditions may change. Be open to additional opportunities. 

Create and maintain a culture of continuous improvement

By understanding and implementing the principles of Kaizen in your organization, you can reap the following benefits including:

  • Improved safety processes
  • Enhanced quality initiatives
  • Demonstrated commitment to continuous improvement
  • Better alignment of all processes and systems
  • Greater employee morale (everyone’s input matters) 

Taking the necessary steps towards continuous improvement is an ongoing, worthwhile process that can yield positive results for your organization. Overall, Kaizen helps build employee morale and empowers your team to be part of important business decisions. When feedback is encouraged and workers can do a job in a safe, quality-driven environment that promotes efficiency, they will thrive.

About Kem Krest

The lean operating system is the backbone of how Kem Krest operates its business. Kaizen, a continuous improvement approach, is an element within the lean operating system that is utilized to address any problems and issues throughout Kem Krest’s business and within the customer and supplier base.

Kem Krest, a certified minority business enterprise (MBE), is the nation’s leading provider of supply chain optimization solutions to automotive, powersports, and heavy-duty OEMs. Through our dedicated team members, lean operating system, and streamlined technology, Kem Krest ensures a resilient and uninterrupted supply chain for the programs we manage. Through customized end to end solutions that address every facet of the supply chain—from inventory management, fulfillment, warehousing, kitting, packaging, logistics, and transportation management, Kem Krest enables companies to increase operational efficiency, deliver superior customer and employee experiences, focus on growth initiatives, and achieve cost savings. Kem Krest partners with companies to virtualize their supply chains through a growing network of 12 facilities in the US and Canada, featuring 1.75M sq. ft. of warehouse space and 600+ full-time team members. For more information, please visit Kem Krest’s website at KemKrest.com.