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Ghana participates in Kaizen Knowledge-sharing seminar

BY: Dominic Moses Awiah
Participants in the seminar

Ghana joined six other African countries to participate in the maiden edition of the “Kaizen Knowledge Sharing Seminar” organised by the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) at Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

 

The three-day seminar provided the platform for countries to learn, share and discuss ways of building strong brands using “Kaizen” management philosophy.

Speaking at the seminar, the Japanese Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mr Kazuhiro Suzuki, said the rationale behind the introduction of “Kaizen” management philosophy in Africa was to assist small businesses to attain the needed growth and expansion.

Kaizen

The concept is a Japanese word which means continuous improvement. It is used to describe a company’s culture where each individual in an institution, from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to the front desk staff, regularly evaluates their work to improve on their performance.

To implement the concept successfully, it is compulsory that all employees receive basic training and guidelines on what to do to enhance quality and productivity at the workplace.

So far, the concept has been adopted by Toyota and other Japanese companies worldwide. 

The concept was launched in Accra in 2015.

The other countries at the seminar were Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Cameroon, Tunisia and Zambia.

A team from the National Board for Small Scale Industries  (NBSSI) and the Ministry of Trade and industry (MoTI) represented Ghana at the seminar that brought a high-powered delegation from the Japanese government.

Mr Suzuki said the seminar would be held annually to provide the platform for Kaizen practising countries to share their experiences and learn from each member country. 

According to him, Kaizen originated from the statistical control method taught by an American expert during Japan's occupation period after the second world war.

The Executive Director of NBSSI, Mr Lukeman Abdul-Rahim, said Ghana introduced the Kaizen management philosophy three-and-a- half years ago as a pilot scheme in the Ashanti Region.

Following the successful pilot scheme by Kaizen, Mr Abdul-Rahim said, the government and JICA launched the National Kaizen Project to pave the way for the concept to be introduced in all the 10 regions of Ghana.

"The first phase of the Kaizen national project began last October when some small and medium scale businesses were selected to undergo training in the Kaizen management concept," he said.

The Chief Representative of JICA at the Ethiopian Office said the Japanese government was more determined to assist African businesses to reach their highest capacity of growth.