Kaizen is the Sino-Japanese word for “improvement”. In business, kaizen refers to activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers. It also applies to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain, It has been applied in healthcare, psychotherapy, life coaching, government, and banking.

Point Kaizen

As soon as something is found broken or incorrect, quick and immediate measures are taken to correct the issues.

System Kaizen

System Kaizen is accomplished in an organized manner and is devised to address system level problems in an organization.

Line Kaizen

Line in this context refers to a structured spreading of Lean from point or discrete to the line. For example, Kaizen might be applied to a process (point), but also to the downstream process.

Plane Kaizen

It is the next upper level of Line Kaizen, in that several lines are connected together. In modern terminologies, this can also be described as value stream, where instead of traditional departments, the organization is structured into product lines or families and value streams. It can be visualized as changes or improvements made to one line being implemented to multiple other lines or processes.

Cube Kaizen

Cube Kaizen describes the situation where all the points of the planes are connected to each other and no point is disjointed from each other. This would resemble a situation where Lean has spread across the entire organization. Improvements are made up and down through the plane, or upstream or downstream, including the complete organization, suppliers and customers. This might require some changes in the standard business processes as well.