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Japan urges Kenya to adopt Kaizen management philosophy

ENVIRONMENT
By Daniel Psirmoi | March 30th 2016

NAIROBI: Kenya will save billions of shillings if the government adopts the Japanese management philosophy -Kaizen- which focuses on continuously improving productivity in its key sector of the economy.

Kazuhiro Suzuki, the Permanent Representative of Japan to the African Union said Kenya has a dynamic public and private sector which provides a big potential of economic growth if it embraces management productivity models like Kaizen.

The management philosophy for quality and productivity improvement is largely credited for providing a foundation for the economic prosperity for the Asian country starting from the 1960's.

Suzuki who is also the Japan Ambassador to Ethiopia said countries and institutions that have implemented the Japanese concept, have reaped numerous including increased productivity and service provision.

"As a result of Kaizen's introduction to Ethiopia, the benefits have been outstanding leading to the saving of over Sh10 Billion over the past five years. There has also been an increase in the provision of improved quality products and services.

"The government in Ethiopia has taken the lead in promoting and implementing Kaizen as a tool for economic growth. Kenya and other countries in Africa need to follow suit to further develop their economies," he added.

The envoy said the introduction of the management concept in states in the continent will be part of the agenda of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) Summit that will for the first time be held in Africa. The summit will be held in Nairobi on 27-28 August 2016.

Last week during a Kaizen Consultative Knowledge Sharing Seminar in Addis Ababa, delegates from several African countries including Kenya, where the Japanese government has introduced the management philosophy were shown how Ethiopia has fully embraced the concept.

Kaizen in the East African nation has been applied not only in the industrial sector like the Sugar milling and export industry but also in the education system which saw the setting up of the Ethiopian Kaizen Institute (EKI).

Mr Adamu Ayana, the Minister in-charge of Public Service and Human Resources said the country has attained double digit growth in its economy through the implementation of the Kaizen philosophy.

"We have proved that Kaizen could help us get rid of our problems. As a show of commitment, EKI is now affiliated to my ministry. It is part of our strong reform instruments, he said.

Speaking to The Standard Wednesday Stephen Kirui the Director of the Kenya Institute of Business Training (KIBT), a body which has for the last few years has introduced the concept, said so far 18 firms in the country are applying Kaizen in their day to day activities.

Mr Kirui who led the Kenyan delegation at the workshop in Ethiopia explained that the institution which falls under the Ministry of Trade has offered short term training to small scale business owners on the Japanese philosophy.

“We introduced the concept three years ago and those we have trained are very enthusiastic about it. We are now in talks with stakeholders and the government to ensure Kaizen is domesticated in all our industrial sectors," he said.

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