By FELIX NKINKE
KAIZEN, a Japanese tradition of ensuring productivity and quality is coming to Zambia.
Government and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have embarked on the introduction of kaizen to improve quality and productivity in all areas of the private and public sectors in the country.
The Japanese government, through the JICA, will spend US$2 million in the first phase of the project to introduce kaizen to Zambia.
Nine Zambian consultants will be taught the â€œgood changeâ€™ philosophy at Kaizen Institute of Zambia (KIZ) which opened in the country in 2013.
Five Japanese experts are in the country to train the Zambians under a three-year programme.
KIZ was registered in Zambia in October 2013 and started operating on June 19, 2014.
KIZ, which publishes a periodical, is also registered with the Zambia Development Agency and Zambia Bureau of Standards under the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.
KIZ national coordinator Kazuhiko Amagai said after the expiry of the first phase in 2016, JICA will draw up a new programme under which more funding will be sourced from the Japanese government.
â€œOur focus is to bring out issues related to promoting quality and productivity improvement among private and public sectors in Zambia. We also look into the various programmes [which are] meant to drive development,â€ Mr Amagai said.
Mr Amagai said Zambiaâ€™s attainment of the 2030 vision requires implementation of programmes that will bring economic growth at the rate required to sustain the nationâ€™s well-being, adding that KIZ was opened to tackle some of the factors that were limiting Zambiaâ€™s economic growth.
â€œSome of these limitations are related to quality, productivity, high cost of doing business through elimination of waste and so on,â€ Mr Amagai said in a statement in Lusaka on Friday.
Kaizen has been applied in healthcare, psychotherapy, life-coaching, government, banking and other industries.
When used in the business sense and applied to the workplace, kaizen refers to activities that continually improve all functions, and involves all employees from the chief executives to the assembly line workers. It also applies to processes, such as purchasing and logistics that cross organisational boundaries into the supply chain.
When done correctly, kaizen humanises the workplace, eliminates overly hard work and teaches people to do experiments on their work and to spot and eliminate waste in business processes using scientific methods.
KIZ is positioned to promote management practices that deliver excellence and hopes Zambia will maintain its prudent pathway.