economy and politics

The Kaizen philosophy that helped more than 100 Argentine SMEs to improve their productivity reveals 5 key tips to be able to apply it in the region

The Kaizen philosophy that helped more than 100 Argentine SMEs to improve their productivity reveals 5 key tips to be able to apply it in the region

In it “International Meeting of Facilitators in Management Technologies, the Government of Japan through JICA -Japan International Cooperation Agency-, and INTI -National Institute of Industrial Technology-, presented the most outstanding cases of the application of the Kaizen Philosophy in the region.

The philosophy Japanese KAIZEN It is known as the continuous improvement process based on concrete, simple and low-cost actions that involve all members of a company.

through the Kaizen TANGO project that involved a collaboration of more than USD 5,000,000 from the Japanese Government, the INTI Management Technology Network together with Japanese experts from JICA advised more than 100 small and medium-sized companies in Argentina and the region, generating a positive and lasting impact on companies and their thousands of workers.

Besides, INTI professionals trained more than 160 professionals from 22 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa, within the framework of the Association Program between Japan and Argentina (PPJA for its acronym in English). For the implementation of the program, both JICA and the Argentine Government, through the Argentine Foreign Ministry and INTI, contributed approximately USD 40,000 for each training.

“To solve the problem, you have to involve all the people in the team”, this maxim was shared by Eng. Raúl Rolón, Certified Advisor in Management Technologies from INTI. Eng. Rolón worked together with the Kerf Maderas team, an SME located between Misiones and Corrientes, dedicated to the production of artificially sawn and kiln-dried pine wood. Their contribution managed to radically improve the productivity of the logging company, going from 30% punctuality in logistics to 100%, also ending downtime. The key to achieving this success was to involve the entire productive and executive chain in the solution process, analyzing the problem and finding an improvement response accepted by all the workers involved.

Rolón’s case was presented at the “International Meeting of Facilitators in Management Technologies” and obtained one of the 3 outstanding mentions. In addition to INTI and JICA, the Ministry of Economy, the Secretariat of Industry and Productive Development and the Argentine Foreign Ministry were in charge of organizing the Meeting. The speakers were former Latin American participants and professionals related to Kaizen TANGO, and presented various cases from Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Paraguay and Guatemala. The papers were evaluated by a panel of INTI experts, AOTS Argentina (Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship), CTA Colombia (Science and Technology Center of Antioquia), SAMECO (Argentine Society for Continuous Improvement), National University of General Sarmiento, AATG (Association of Management Technology Advisors), JICA and independent experts.

5 key tips to apply Kaizen in Argentine companies and achieve improvements

The Kaizen philosophy (Kai=change, Zen=good) is a Japanese business management model that describes improvements in organizational processes at all levels of the hierarchy. Their goal is to implement improvements and reduce inefficiencies to build an effective and productive environment.

  1. People first. The Kaizen approach proposes to involve people and eliminate what is known as the 8th productive loss “waste of human talent”. No one better than the person who works at your job to propose improvements. The fact of including ALL sectors provides other perspectives.
  1. Question your own practices. By prioritizing all the lines, it encourages each one to question what they are doing and why they are doing it in order to find the root of the problem. And it encourages to be creative to find the solution. This generates great commitment and involvement among employees.
  1. Measure. It is something that any company can do. It is necessary to have data, quantify and assess to differentiate between the ideal situation and the real one.
  1. Invest time before capital. The cost-benefit relationship is always present and it is mistakenly believed that it is necessary to invest a lot of money to achieve improvements. However, the Kaizen philosophy proposes, rather than money, investing in analysis time, putting the focus on the people who are part of the organization. If these improve, so will the processes and work efficiency will increase.
  1. Transfer wisdom and embodied knowledge. All the people in a company who are trained and acquire new tools to streamline and improve the performance of the organization have to transfer that knowledge to other members of the team so that it lasts within the structure and can continue to be applied.

The Kaizen philosophy finally encourages breaking the barriers of rigidity in command structures, understanding that to improve it is essential that senior managers be able to talk and integrate the perspective of all workers, in this way a lasting solution to problems is found and resistance to change is overcome.

The Kaizen Tango project

The Kaizen Tango project advised more than 100 companies over 5 years of work and is in its last year. An important part includes the expansion of INTI’s technical assistance to Latin American countries. In 2019, the Latin American Network for Productivity was formed and since then 21 institutions from 16 countries have been supported to strengthen regional productivity.

Argentine SMEs that are interested in receiving technical assistance from the Management Technologies Network can contact INTI to the following email: [email protected]

They may also communicate to be certified as advisors to the following email: [email protected]

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