Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma Definitions

Glossary terms, history, people and definitions about Lean and Six Sigma

Kaizen Teian

Teian is simply translated to “suggestion” or “proposal.” When combined with kaizen, it becomes a simple system that helps organizations turn employee ideas and improvements into a culture and habit, rather than leaving them as occasional or random occurrences. Employees are incentivized to implement small, simple, incremental improvements through small rewards and internal motivation.

Every employee is encouraged to participate, because the improvements are specific to their work, and incremental. Most proposals are acted upon. They receive some kind of evaluation and then the employee is rewarded with some kind of bonus. This encourages them to submit more ideas.

A proposal form is used to define the problem, describe the proposal using pictures and images, and gather data to better understand the problem or potential solution.

Example Kaizen Teian proposal form from http://alexsibaja.blogspot.com/2014/07/kaizen-teian-ideas-are-workless-if-they.html

The active proposals and their status are displayed in the open for all to see, creating transparency and accountability to everyone involved. Most employee suggestion programs are a “black hole,” where ideas go into a box, and never come out again.

The main differences between this system and traditional employee suggestion programs are that the traditional systems are more concerned with large and significant improvements and bonuses. These big ideas may seem more worthwhile to pursue due to the potential benefits, but they are complex, difficult to implement, and often never get completed. They also take a long time to evaluate the larger ideas, which delays or overwhelms the review team. Even when a large idea is selected, it is often implemented by managers and engineers, not the employees or workers that do the value-added work, and therefore the culture doesn’t change much. The smaller ideas are often rejected due to their size, or overlooked with no response back to the worker. The worker is frustrated and does not submit any more ideas.


  • Bunji Tozawa




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