Kaizen refers to “continuous improvement” of employees and organizations and is the foundation “for all lean initiatives” in which the primary objective is to facilitate productive changes in workplaces with the help of “solid planning and smart implementation. Kaizen focuses on commencing transformation by bringing about improvements which could sometimes be minute and unobvious but aim at having clean and organized workplaces. A kaizen program is initiated to make certain changes in the company processes for an increase in profitability by eliminating anything that is waste and unnecessary. The Kaizen approach is similar to customer care which is also based on commencing enhancement at the workplace by valuing customers as potential sources of information which serve to enable managers to bring about improvements. Both, Kaizen and customer care seek improvements of the workplace and employees but the former approach involves the elimination of all kinds of wastes and facilitating change through lean, whereas in the case of customer care, change takes place with the help of relationship building with clients which are the ultimate resources for change. Kaizen can be made an important aspect of all company processes by “involving employees at every level of the organization” and “integrating it into normal day-to day activities” (Ortiz, 2006).
Kaizen or lean manufacturing relates to customers and is an aspect of customer care because the prime purpose and aim of Kaizen is to fulfill customer expectations with respect to “quality, service and price” in highly competitive markets (Caldwell, 2008). The prime purpose of lean is to improve customer value by delivering them goods and services at highly competitive rates which can be achieved by “using less human effort, less manufacturing space, les investment in tools, less inventory, less motion and les engineering time to develop a new product” (Caldwell, 2008). The Kaizen process is preceded by customer care which aims at investigating the needs, wants and expectations of customers which can used to “assist in the identification and steady elimination of waste” which can be followed by “improvement of quality” (Caldwell, 2008). The unwanted aspects or wastes of a company are decided by valuable input from customers and their feedback which serves as the basis of all changes in products or services. The importance of “continuous process improvement” in Kaizen is an important component of customer care (Caldwell, 2008).
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The kaizen approach can support customer care because it promotes the doctrine of completing more work within shorter time periods “with fewer employees” and companies and managers can apply the principles of lean to produce services and outcomes for the benefit of customers by using greater “efficiency and quality” (Strouse, 2008). Lean implementation necessitates that the focus is placed on customers and all the processes and products related to them, so that value is created by reducing unnecessary costs which results in enhanced products for customers (Strouse, 2008). Managers and employees are expected to work with enhanced effectiveness with the final objective of giving the best possible value added products and services to customers, which can ultimately transform into customer satisfaction, and long term loyalty.