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Kaizen: The Key To Japan's Competitive Success 1st Edition

18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0075543329
ISBN-10: 007554332X
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Books about Japanese management have become kind of a cottage industry, from Theory Z ( LJ 5/1/81) to The Art of Japanese Management ( LJ 8/1/81) and The Mind of the Strategist ( LJ 6/1/82) to Kaisha: the Japanese corporation ( LJ 12/85). This volume covers some of the same groundthe current superiority of Japanese management stylebut approaches things from a different perspective. Essentially, Imai contends that the Japanese edge can be found in a philosophical orientation captured in the concept of Kaizen. Kaizen management is anchored in the notion of perpetual improvementeven if all is going well. In contrast to U.S.-style management, it takes a longer-run view and is process-oriented rather than geared to immediate results. Importantly, the Kaizen philsophy is also quantifiable , rooted in the mathematics of quality control theory. Recommended. Gene Laczniak, Coll. of Business Administration, Marquette Univ., Milwaukee
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (November 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 007554332X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0075543329
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Ellen on October 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The book Kaizen is very famous and it is often cited. Only because of it's fame, it is worth reading already. Imai shows how production is organized in Japan, and he shows the enormous attention given in Japan to continuous improvement. However, he is rather simplistic about the differences between Japan and the West. However, the book gives a good introduction is some major themes in the field of continuous improvement and it is the origin of many ideas later cited by other. Thus: worth reading if you want to get to know a basic book about continuous improvements in production processes.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By therosen VINE VOICE on March 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Most American businesses no longer worry so much about the Japanese miracle. International focus has moved from Japan to China and back to Europe. Many Japanese companies are now looking to the US for recapitalization and management assistance.
So why is a book on Japanese management techniques still so relevant?
First of all, continuous improvement and lean manufacturing have become universal management tools, not strictly limited to one country. This book presents as good an introduction to the subject as any. With today's focus on execution, this topic are becoming even more current. (Dare I say topical?)
Additionally, understanding continuous improvement is still important in the context of broader corporate change. What are the strength and limitations of incremental changes versus more radical corporate moves? Read the book and learn more.
This book certainly won't turn a mediocre manager into a great leader, but Kaizen is a useful addition to the toolbox of any manager.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Dirk Vervacke on October 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book covers the relevant aspects of Kaizen and its implementation. Don't expect this book to give you a step-by-step implementation plan for your company. It does something better than that: it gives you the understanding to design your own implementation plan. It is a good basis for discussion. I often reference it while lecturing about Kaizen and TPM and take a few sentences from the book to challenge the audience.
Everyone who pioneers in Kaizen in his/her company needs this understanding (and a set of brains to translate the concept to the everday reality, but that's why they pay you the big bucks, I hope).
Although it's a very good book, you will find yourself stimulated to read other material on this topic because it creates an "eager want" to know more and to see the puzzle come together. In the end, no author will do that; finalizing the puzzle is your job...
To be concrete, this book is definately recommended. You'll never understand it all by just reading one book (or by just reading, period). It will give you a quantum leap in your understanding and all concepts will be there. Only action and involvement can do more.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Elijah Chingosho on May 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book on how production is organised in Japan. It explains the Kaizen concept of continuous improvement and its implementation, highlighting the essential differences between the production and operations management philosophies of the West with those of Japan. The foundation of the Kaizen method consists of five fundamental elements namely teamwork, personal discipline, improved morale, quality circles and suggestions for improvement.

This is a very enlightening book for those who want to understand the basic concepts of continuous improvement (as opposed to innovation or business process reengineering) in the production process and how this has been successfully applied in Japan. Some very successful companies like Toyota owe their success largely to the employment of this concept.

This is essential reading for those who wish to introduce Kaizen in their organisation. The book is written in a simple and easy to follow and understand style. However, the book is becoming a bit dated having been written two decades ago, and in any case, the spotlight nowadays has shifted to China, but nevertheless, this is excellent reading about a concept that is still delivering good value to those companies that are correctly employing it.
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1. Japan has gained world economic power through five phases: a) large-scale absorption of technology imported from the US. b) A productivity-drive that strongly supported mechanization, automation, and robotic usage. C) A countrywide quality improvement devotion, set forth by Dr. Demming. D) A great degree of manufacturing flexibility. E) Adoption of a multinational corporation partnerships and structures (global standard component specifications).

2. Worker suggestions are an important feedback component in Japanese management. Management works hard to consider worker suggestions. It is not uncommon for management to spend a whole day listening to presentations of activities by Quality circles. The central idea involves listening to improve process and rewards for results.

3. Japanese management focuses on standards. Worker suggestions lead to implementation of the suggestion and revising of standards. Toyoda said, "One of the features of the Japanese worker is they use their brains as well as their hands." Improving standards means raising quality levels.

4. Intense domestic competition is thought to be the driving force for Japanese companies in overseas market. Japanese compete for larger market share through the introduction of new and more competitive products and by using and improving the latest technologies.

5. Why is it important that management establish process-criteria for Quality circles? Quality circles use process criteria to approach their subjects. Process-criteria affect the number of meetings, the amount of participation, and the number of problems solved. Do the Quality circles take into consideration safety, quality, and costs in working out the subject problem?
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