2012 Volume 11 Pages 55-63
The author conducted in-depth field research to examine changes in a three-year period of kaizen activities in a Japanese factory in Thailand. This research showed that for kaizen activities to be effective, (a) commitment from top managers is required at first. Further, since favorable acceptance is important in the introduction/promotion period for kaizen activities, (b) promotion appropriate to the local culture is also required. In this case, managers made the kaizen activities seem “fun" during the first-year introduction period to fit in with Thai culture and the cheerfulness of the Thai people. From the second year on, the focus of the kaizen activities shifted to become more result-oriented. If cutting costs had been the focus from the first year, the activities would not have been favorably accepted and they may not have penetrated as far as they did. In other words, (c) progressive change is required for kaizen activities to be effective.