Continuous improvement of an entire value stream or an individual process to create more value with less waste.
There are two levels of kaizen (Rother and Shook 1999, p. 8):
- System or flow kaizen focusing on the overall value stream.
This is kaizen for management.
- Process kaizen focusing on individual processes.
This is kaizen for work teams and team leaders.
Value-stream mapping is an excellent tool for identifying an entire value stream and determining where flow and process kaizen are appropriate.