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A Kaizen Approach to Engineering - NCA Ltd

A Kaizen Approach to Engineering

A kaizen approach to engineering

Welcome back to the NCA blog where we bring you the latest developments from our company and offer insights from our experienced teams. In today’s blog we examine a topic that helps define our philosophy as a business – the ancient Japanese concept of Kaizen.

Kaizen is a concept that refers to on-going or continuous improvement. The definition of kaizen comes from two Japanese words: ‘kai’ which means ‘change’ and ‘zen’ meaning ‘good’. The Japanese philosophy was first introduced by Toyota over three decades ago in the 1980s and has since been adopted by thousands of businesses around the world. This streamlined transformation encourages a culture of improvement that gradually increases quality, efficiency, and profitability.

So, what is kaizen exactly? In many industries, Kaizen can be traced to statistics – the all seeing metrics by which one can measure the efficiency and effectiveness of a business. Through careful and continuous monitoring of production it is possible to create a baseline to use as a foundation upon which to improve results. Whatsmore, employees are given the tools to be able to take real ownership of their tasks and can feel empowered to suggest ideas that deal with common problems and offer improvements.

Because executing Kaizen requires enabling the right mindset throughout a company, 10 principles that address the Kaizen mindset are commonly referenced as core to the philosophy. They are:

  • Let go of assumptions.
  • Be proactive about solving problems.
  • Don’t accept the status quo.
  • Let go of perfectionism and take an attitude of iterative, adaptive change.
  • Look for solutions as you find mistakes.
  • Create an environment in which everyone feels empowered to contribute.
  • Don’t accept the obvious issue; instead, ask “why” five times to get to the root cause.
  • Cull information and opinions from multiple people.
  • Use creativity to find low-cost, small improvements.
  • Never stop improving.

Central to this concept at NCA Ltd is, quite literally, the idea that each and every team member is a cog in the bigger workings of our company. We believe that those closest to each job or task are ideally situated to understand how the work can be improved and made more efficient.  We believe that by tackling issues head-on, they aren’t allowed to persist and grow into bigger challenges. This grassroots approach delivers incremental improvements that add up to big wins. And it is the incremental gains that are so important when providing our range of services to companies. Increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of how we work can lead to both a reduction in turn around and costs. 

Recently, we were awarded ISO 9001 certification. which further demonstrates our commitment to Kaizen. A key component on which the standard is issued is based around the streamlining of processes throughout a company, with the objective of bringing down costs, creating new opportunities, meeting regulatory requirements, and helping our team to expand into new markets in which clients demand ISO 9001 certification.

Marginal gains and constant improvement are at the heart of NCA Ltd and our commitment to providing the very best precision machined pieces. From R&D to full scale production and machining, our experienced teams are on hand to assist you with your projects. For more information and to discuss your requirements, contact our team on 01928 790209 or via nca@ncaltd.co.uk

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