Kaizen in Pharmaceutical Industry

Kaizen is one of the important elements of competitive advantage in production system and for the existence of organization. Continual improvement (Kaizen) is an on going process of improvement which involves all the stakeholders at all level in the organization.

Important philosophies deployed by various organizations include Kaizen, Reengineering and Six Sigma.

Kaizen relies heavily on involvement of all employees while Six Sigma relies more on fewer project leaders called black and green belts. Success of any approach requires fully committed management.

TQM and Kaizen are two fundamental concepts directly dealing with Continual improvement of quality, standard way of accomplishment of a job and performance in an organization to achieve positive transformation in thoughts and action of employees.

Owing to similarity in practical application, confusion exists while comprehending the core issues related to both the concepts.

  • Kaizen is a Japanese word that indicates small continual improvement as routine functioning of the organization.
  • Kaizen is a combination of two Japanese words, Kai mean change and Zen mean toward betterment.
  • Kaizen is also known as Gemba Kaizen mean ‘Continual Improvement’ (CI) at actual work place.

The ultimate goal of Kaizen is to make a good learning organization through small incremental changes toward betterment known as kaizen events. These events are performed through cross functional teams.

To involve the people in kaizen means, go beyond their contracted role to continually identify and develop better way of doing a routine job and enhance the organizational performance.

The Kaizen improvement focuses on the use of:

1. Value-added and non-value-added work activities.

2. Muda, which refers to the seven classes of waste—over-production, delay, transportation, processing, inventory, wasted motion, and defective parts.

3. Principles of motion study and the use of cell technology.

4. Principles of materials handling and use of one-piece flow.

5. Documentation of standard operating procedures.

6. The five S’s for workplace organization, which are five Japanese words that mean proper arrangement (seiri), orderliness (seiton), personal cleanliness (seiso), cleanup (seiketsu), and discipline (shitsuke).

7. Visual management by means of visual displays that everyone in the plant can use for better commu- nications.

8. Just in time (JIT) principles to produce only the units in the right quantities, at the right time, and with the right resources.

9. Pokayoke to prevent or detect errors.

10. Team dynamics, which include problem solving, communication skills, and conflict resolution.

Note: ISO has amended the term "Continuous Improvement" to "Continual Improvement". [Reference: ISO 9001: 2015]

Read also: How to Achieve Zero Defects Goal in Pharma?

Resource Person: Barbara Pirola

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