Sample Management Paper on Kaizen PDCA in Japan

Kaizen PDCA

Currently considered the most important management system in Japan, Kaizen was instituted after World War II as a measure for the restoration of Japanese companies (Prošić, 2011). According to (Prošić, 2011; Titu et al., 2010), the term Kaizen is Japanese in origin and comprised of two foundational roots that confer to it its meaning, these are Kai and Zen. While Kai means change, Zen refers to improvement. The term is, therefore, indicative of changes geared toward the achievement of improvement, and is used in management to infer the implementation of small yet incremental changes whose overall target is the achievement of positive change. This definition and application are borrowed directly from its Japanese philosophical origin, where its application requires the pursuit of quality and perfection daily in life by gradually implementing infinite changes. In management, this concept, therefore, doubles as a philosophy (aimed at developing a culture of employee participation) as well as an action plan (organizing company improvement events).

This tool of management, which involved in both the result and the process, doesn’t seek a capital intensive, rigorous and drastic means of improvement. Its utilization provides the basis for waste elimination and the provision of necessary tools for productivity to each involved in the circle of production. Though it is focused on the achievement of the corporate gain and thus promoted a healthy dose of teamwork, Kaizen recognizes the efforts displayed by the individual as well. (Medinilla, 2014; Prošić, 2011).

According to (Prošić, 2011), at the core of the Kaizen philosophy are the following guiding principles:

  • Discard the status quo.
  • Consider how to do it, not the barriers to implementation.
  • Think and accept not of excuses but make strides to make things happen.
  • Despite the possibility of achieving on 50%, do it immediately instead of seeking perfection.
  • Correct all mistakes as soon as possible.
  • Apply wisdom not money to the problem.
  • In decision making employ the five Why method.
  • Prefer the wisdom of ten people over the knowledge of one
  • There is always room for improvement
  • Allow worker creativity even after working hours.

Acronyms for the Plan, Do, Check and Act cycle, the PDCA cycle also termed the Deming wheel cycle or the Shewhart cycle after its developer W. E. Deming (Singh, 2013). This cycle like the Kaizen philosophy is infinite in nature and is applied in the improvement of business activities via problem-solving techniques (Singh, 2013; Sokovic et al., 2010). According to (Gidey, 2014; Singh, 2013; Sokovic et al., 2010), this cycle can also be used in the implementation of the Kaizen philosophy consists of the following stages;

  • Plan – this is the first step in the cycle and is characterized by situational analysis and identification of the specific area earmarked for change. After having the target aspect for change implementation, the specific and measurable activities required to institute the changes are determined. This step finally culminates in the determination of the expected results for the change, for use in evaluation.
  • Do – this is the second phase of the cycle which involves the implementation of the predetermined steps and activities. Though the implementation may be on a small or large scale, the step requires adequate data collection and measurement of progress. The data and results observed should be properly recorded.
  • Check – at this stage the results are properly analyzed and evaluated against the targeted expectation so as to evaluate the efficiency in the improvement of the process. In case, the process considerably improves, the implementation is considered. However, in case the results stipulate lack of improvement, the possible errors, issues, learning objectives and unintentional costs are recorded for the next trial.
  • Act – here a standardized version of the beat possible improvement strategies are implemented and the results presented across the management divide. This step culminates with the identification of the next phase of improvement.



Gidey E., Jilcha K., Beshah B. and Kitaw D. (2014). The Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle of Value Addition. Industrial Engineering & Management, Volune 3 (1) , 1-5.

Kaizen, A. (2014). Agile Kaizen: Managing Continuous Improvement Far Beyond Retrospectives. New York: Springer.

Prošic, S. (2011). Kaizen Management Philosophy. Zrenjanin, Serbia: Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Singh, V. K. (2013). PCDA Cycle:A Quality Approach. Utthan The Journal Of Management Sciences , 89-96.

Sokovic M., Pavletic D.,Pipan K.K. (2010). Quality Improvement Methodologies – PDCA Cycle, RADAR Matrix, DMAIC and DFSS. Journal of Achievements in Materials, 43,(1) , 476-482.

Titu, A. E., Oprean C. and Grecu D. (2010). Applying the Kaizen Method and the 5S Technique in the Activity of Post-Sale Services in the Knowledge-Based Organization. Proceedings of the Internationa MultiConference of Engeneers and Computer scientists (pp. 17-19). Hong Kong: IMECS.