I have finished reading this book about Kaizen. Many years ago I heard the term Kaizen for the superior productivity in Japan, mainly from Toyota as the world’s number one car producer. Somehow, I bought this used copy to learn about it.

First, I noticed the book was printed in 1986… I realised I rarely read “technical” stuff so “old”.

The first surprise was that it seems the concept of quality control was actually brought by USA to post WWII Japan. The two main people were W E Deming and J M Juran.

It is interesting that Japan was very eager to learn the productivity secrets from USA and at the end, they created their on version.

I like the focus in people. They need to be engaged and feel part of something. At the end of the day, everybody has to push together to get to great results. As well, it seems key the achievement of small changes and not massive ones. They set for long-term goals, mainly for customer satisfaction that is not just the person who buys the product. It is not all about profits. It seems the profits will come as a by-product (reduce cost, increase customer satisfaction, more sells -> more profits). So the vision is product-oriented instead of result-oriented.

The point that “if you dont have problems, how you can improve?!” is so true.

And one slogan to measure how good is your product: “would you buy what you are producing?”

I can see many concepts are already in place in technology. The “Kambam” board, the constant search for small improvements, etc. If you think devops culture is something really modern, doesn’t look like that.

In general, the approach is quite different from the Western world and has been successful. But the book mentions that you need the innovation side for keep improving. So again, as life, you need balance.

And at the end, Kaizen becomes like a way of life. Or it is like I see it.

I am curious how the author would see Kaizen and Japan nowadays.