Kaizen is a Japanese term. ‘Kai’ means ‘change’ and ‘zen’ means ‘for the better’. For us, this is much more than just a management concept. Kaizen is our philosophy and something we practise daily.
It is about our making a commitment to permanently improving our activities and processes. This can only be achieved if everyone is brought on board, from the management to the employees on the production lines. Only if the focus is placed firmly on the employees can the company’s full expertise and all its ideas be mobilised in order for us to jointly come up with solutions.
We think in terms of a one-piece flow. Our ability to keep things simple helps us here. We observe things at the ‘gemba’, meaning ‘the real place’. In other words, rather than making plans up in the office, we observe what goes on down on the ground, for example on the production lines. We make immediate decisions and implement things simply – so simply that everyone can have their say and make a contribution. We are very proud of our novel solutions.
Our management adheres to the gemba 80 principle, meaning the management spends 80 per cent of its time where the action is, i.e. in the development departments and in production. Any employee can speak to anyone at any time to contribute to solving a problem – across all the hierarchy levels. The statement ‘Not my area of responsibility’ is not part of our vocabulary.
It is therefore no exaggeration to say that kaizen defines our corporate culture. This is evidenced by the way in which we interact with one another every day and by our passion and enthusiasm to continuously come up with new solutions.