Essay: Japanese Kaizen and Teian System
One important factor for the industry to be succeeded is encouraging employees to take initiative to share any ideas or opinions. In America, any individual suggests an idea to upper level management and then decide to adopt it or not and pay out reward accordingly to the significance of individual suggestion, but does not emphasis on the share of internal flow of information. As soon as the Japanese recognized this problem, it came up with Kaizen and Teian system. Kaizen means continuous improvement and Teian means suggestions and proposals (Kyōkai, 1990).
In general, the system emphasize on quick and on-spot evaluation. Kaizen-Taien activities became an on job-training (OJT) to every front-line worker (Kyōkai, 1990). The aim of the training is to fasten the process of decision-making time and to teach employees to be a problem solver and identified any problems that can be improved. However, suggestions do not always lead to improvement. Sometimes, employees may propose a same idea to the management level; it is time-consuming to answer each of the employees’ questions. Managers will give out a general answer regarding their questions and adopt appropriate suggestion. Manager will not give answer as if we will consider it. Such answer will lower the incentive of suggesting because employees will think that managers do not take their considerations in to account. From the whole company viewpoint, it will collect data and suggestions periodically and make a decision to adopt which one. In addition, Teian system is using for a finite period because it will create a great deal of negativity in the environment in a long run (Kyōkai, 1990).