Prioritising the enablers for the successful implementation of Kaizen in China: a Fuzzy AHP study

Jie Ma, Zhibin Lin, Chi Keung Lau

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    Purpose – The main purpose of this study is to develop a better understanding of how Sino- Japanese joint ventures implemented the three Japanese improvement methods, i.e. Kaizen, Kaikaku and Kaizen Blitz. The specific objectives of this study are: (a) to identify the key enablers for the three improvement methods; and (b) to identify the most selected improvement method. Design/methodology/approach – This study employs fuzzy analytic hierarchy process to pairwise-compare the three improvement methods. The data are collected from 28 industry experts from Sino-Japanese joint ventures. The study then adopts extent analysis approach for pairwise comparisons and extent analysis to obtain synthetic extent values for priority weights. Findings – The results of the study indicate that Personnel (humanware) factor enablers are the most important factor for Kaizen, whilst Software factor enablers (essential rules, policies and institutional arrangements) weight second and Hardware factor enablers (physical, measurable hard facts or resources) weight last. The study also reviews that Kaizen is the most selected improvement method among the three. Research limitations/limitations – The sample of this study is limited to Sino-Japanese ventures in Guangzhou, China. This study only identifies the key improvement enablers based on interviews with shop floor managers and improvement experts. Practical implications - Practical implications are also threefold: (a) the improvement implementations should be based on factors such as regular training, incentives for motivations and shop-floor management; (b) improvement methods are transferable and standard operations may only have small effects on collecting improvement ideas; and (c) Kaizen is the appropriate method to support long-term and process-oriented improvements. Originality/value – This study is the first to specifically pairwise-compare the three Japanese improvement methods and to identify priorities of their key enablers in Sino-Japanese joint ventures.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Quality & Reliability Management
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2017


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