Updated: 11 March 2024

What Does Kaizen Mean?

Kaizen is a Japanese term that means “change for the better” or “continuous improvement.” It is a combination of two Sino-Japanese words: “kai,” which means “change,” and “zen,” which means “good.” In marketing, it is a philosophy that encourages teamwork, finds ways to eliminate unnecessary work and aims to boost productivity.

Some insurance companies have begun to use this philosophy as a management guide. The scope in which this applies to insurance is big, from reducing paperwork to eliminating and streamlining policies.

Insuranceopedia Explains Kaizen

The most famous company to use the kaizen approach is Japanese car manufacturer Toyota. It subverts the traditional manufacturing policy of producing and storing products to meet future demand. Instead, it makes cars only based on customer demand, or by using the just-in-time approach. This reduces operational expenses. Lean management (i.e. cutting unnecessary work, finding ways to meet the actual needs of the clients and not speculating on what they need) is the essence of kaizen.

Kaizen adopters follow the PDCA strategy. The acronym stands for plan, do, check and act. It means that a change in the company is introduced (plan), executed on a trial basis (do), evaluated according to its effectiveness (check), and then finally applied (act).

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