If any organisation wants to develop and evolve, it must be open to new ideas and ways to run its business. This is especially true for us here at Middlesex Aerospace. As a manufacturer we work within industries which demand the highest standards. Where we can find new ways to raise quality or improve our position in supply chains, our customers will of course benefit. And how we strive to improve our business is to look for inspiration from others, learn from them and adopt ideas which we can be confident will work.
It is for those reasons we decided some time ago to introduce Kaizen into Middlesex Aerospace. You might well have already heard of Kaizen, but in case you need some details here’s a quick background for you.
‘Kai’ and ‘Zen’, Japanese for ‘Change For The Better’ is an approach to business improvement. The methodology can trace its roots back to the USA during World War 2, when the Training With Industry programme was developed to help reduce the impact of skilled personnel being called up to fight.
Within the TWI programme was a new approach to reaching objectives. Rather than make major, wholesale changes to processes, small incremental steps were encouraged, often being implemented as they were suggested. At the end of the war, this approach was brought to Europe and Asia to help with rebuilding the homes and businesses left shattered by conflict.
In Japan, the Americans brought in the programme to help develop local business management skills. Within this was an introduction titled ‘Improvement In Four Steps’ – ‘Kaizen eno Yon Danka’.
The 5 Principles Of Kaizen
Kaizen consists of 5 principles:
Know your Customer
If you understand what your customer wants, you can then identify how to add value to their experience
Let it Flow
Find where waste occurs in your work – and come up with new ways to eliminate it
Go to Gemba
Gemba is translated as ‘the real place’. So this principle is about following the process and spot where value is being created. That’s ‘the real place’, or Gemba
To make Kaizen work, you give your staff goals and the means to achieve them
By showing how the business is performing, people can see the effects of changes as they occur. And it’s showing the success of those changes that encourages people to be involved in Kaizen.
Kaizen Can be Everywhere
An important point if, like us, you’re always strive to improve across all aspects of our business. Kaizen is not restricted to production. You apply it throughout your organisation. When applied within a supply chain, the incremental improvements can result in major jumps forward in efficiency and quality. It has helped us to become valued partners to many of our customers, through applying Kaizen to our work in their supply chains and helping to develop their product.
From our perspective, the beauty of Kaizen is how it involves everyone. All staff within Middlesex Aerospace play a vital role and all can have an input into improving our business. Changes can be almost imperceptible, but they deliver more efficient, effective work – resulting in ever higher quality. And that commitment to relentless improvement matches how we always strive to improve. Plus of course, it places us as a preferred partner for more and more of the premium names in aerospace and other sectors demanding precision engineering services.