The Three Pillars of Kaizen | C Tek Lean Solutions (2024)

Kaizen is a Japanese business philosophy that strives to improve productivity and processes at all levels of the employee chain from the CEO to the assembly line workers. Kaizen, which means “improvement,” applies to manufacturing along with other industries such as banking and healthcare. C Tek explains the three main pillars of Kaizen and how they can help you improve efficiency, business, and performance.


Housekeeping is the first pillar of Kaizen. It is the method of managing the workplace, called Gemba, to continually improve. The main concept of this pillar is that one service or product is made valuable before it moves onto the next stage. A fundamental framework shapes the pillar of housekeeping. First, the workplace needs to be clean, neat, and efficient. This way, materials and tools are easy to locate, use, and maintain so that there is no excess in production and also no shortage in materials and goods. The goal is to have all items easy to locate when they are needed. Any waste should be given a red tag and removed from the process to improve efficiency.

Elimination of Waste

Eliminating waste is the second main pillar of Kaizen. This pillar, also called Muda, is the Japanese term for “waste.” It refers to any resource that is currently being used but does not actually add value. Anything that does not add value, the pillar asserts, should be eliminated and removed from the process to ensure that only valuable services and products are offered. Waste can include transportation, over-processing, waiting, motion, defects, inventory, and overproduction. Essentially, eliminating waste follows the same principles as lean manufacturing. Waste is identified in the same primary eight categories. In Kaizen, the goal of eliminating waste is to improve the relationship and communication with suppliers to create Just in Time inventory management, which is also abbreviated as “JIT.” Additionally, the process should be streamlined to provide maximum value and benefit for customers.


Standardization is the process of developing standards to which production is performed. Standardization involves producing products and services to pre-set specifications. Standardization is intended to eliminate waste, including the eight main types of waste identified in lean manufacturing. Additionally, standardization lowers costs, increases productivity, and creates more stable workflows. Before this pillar is implemented into practice, managers should make sure that it is appropriate for the business and accepted as a fair and achievable practice by everyone who is involved in the process. The pillar must be reviewed regularly after it is implemented to verify that it is working correctly. Ultimately, a good standard should create the safest, easiest, and most efficient way to perform a job.

For more information on Kaizen and how its pillars can improve your business operations, contact a C Tek expert.

The Three Pillars of Kaizen | C Tek Lean Solutions (2024)


The Three Pillars of Kaizen | C Tek Lean Solutions? ›

The three pillars of Kaizen include housekeeping, waste elimination, and standardization. At the core of the practice is continuous improvement. Let's now see some of the fundamental principles that lie at the heart of Kaizen. Kaizen's tools are actually the methods and techniques that can reduce waste in processes.

What are the three pillars of Kaizen? ›

The three pillars of Kaizen include housekeeping, waste elimination, and standardization. At the core of the practice is continuous improvement. Let's now see some of the fundamental principles that lie at the heart of Kaizen. Kaizen's tools are actually the methods and techniques that can reduce waste in processes.

What are the 3 basic principle of Kaizen? ›

The 3 principles of Kaizen are: gemba: the place where work is done. gembutsu: the actual product. genjitsu: the facts.

What are the 3 main elements of Kaizen management? ›

The key elements of Kaizen are : quality, effort, involvement of all employees, willingness to change and communication.

What are the main three factors of Kaizen? ›

According to Masaaki Imai, a Japanese expert in kaizen management practices and philosophies and an organizational theorist, "Kaizen is based on three pillars:
  • Housekeeping.
  • Waste elimination.
  • Standardization"

What are the 3 C's of Kaizen? ›

Leadership plays a pivotal role in driving the change management required for a successful shift to a Kaizen culture and Continuous Improvement program. Make sure your corporate leaders are embracing the three Cs — commitment, communication and consistency — to drive your cultural transformation.

What are the 3 M's of Kaizen? ›

The three types are Muda (無駄, waste), Mura (斑, unevenness), and Muri (無理, overburden).

What is 3S in Kaizen? ›

It's a simplified version of 5S. 5S stands for Sort, Straighten, Sweep, Standardize, and Sustain. 3S is just three of these: Sort, Sweep, and Standardize.

What is the 3 gen principle? ›

The 3 GEN principle (Gemba, Gembutsu, and Genjitsu), also known as the 3 Realities principle, is a problem-solving approach in Lean thinking that focuses on gaining a deep understanding of the situation or problem through direct observation. The three components of this principle are Gemba, Gembutsu, and Genjitsu. 1.

What is the basic of Kaizen? ›

Kaizen is an approach to creating continuous improvement based on the idea that small, ongoing positive changes can reap significant improvements. Typically, it is based on cooperation and commitment and stands in contrast to approaches that use radical or top-down changes to achieve transformation.

What are the 3 pillars of 5S? ›

The 5S pillars, Sort (Seiri), Set in Order (Seiton), Shine (Seiso), Standardize (Seiketsu), and Sustain (sh*tsuke), provide a methodology for organizing, cleaning, developing, and sustaining a productive work environment.

What is the Kaizen formula? ›

The cycle of kaizen activity can be defined as: Plan → Do → Check → Act. This is also known as the Shewhart cycle, Deming cycle, or PDCA.

What is the major Kaizen lean? ›

Kaizen, or rapid improvement processes, often is considered to be the "building block" of all lean production methods. Kaizen focuses on eliminating waste, improving productivity, and achieving sustained continual improvement in targeted activities and processes of an organization.

What is the 3 pillars system? ›

What is the structure of the Swiss three-pillar pension system? Switzerland's pension system consists of three pillars: state, occupational and private pension provision. The purpose of Pillar 1 – old-age, survivors' and disability insurance, or AHV – is to secure livelihood.

What are the 3 pillars of sustainability? ›

The 3 pillars of sustainability: environmental, social and economic. Sustainability is an essential part of facing current and future global challenges, not only those related to the environment.

What is the three pillars concept? ›

Sustainability's three main pillars represent environmental concerns, socially responsible practices, and economic cooperation. These three pillars are also informally referred to as people, planet, purpose, and profits. It's useful to understand the terms sometimes used in place of the three pillars.

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