Folklore mentions a story around Kaizen. The story goes-
Once upon a time, a village was struck with severe drought. Everyone had to walk huge distances from their homes to the river to fetch a pail of water. Men and women, young and old, everyone had to walk miles to get just one pail of drinking water. And they had to do this chore everyday ...
One day, the village head observed a small boy of 4- 5 years carrying a small pot of water. He was walking along with his mom, who was carrying a bigger pot of water for their home. The sight of a young kid having to suffer so much for water disturbed the village head. He got around thinking ... what can be done so we minimize the effort to get water?
He then came up with a plan. In the evening he called a meeting of all villagers and said "all of us are struggling to get water, even the kids and it pains me. So, why not all of us pool ourselves so that each one of us does only a bit, daily, and when the efforts add-up we get our reward" i.e. drinking water!
So then on, each person was placed at strategic distance and transferred pots of water from point-to-point. They rotated people so as to evenly distribute workload. This solved the problem ... small increments done over time added-up to bring big reward i.e. water. That's the history of Kaizen.
Kaizen methodology was applied to industrial setting by Dr. Deming. He first applied Kaizen in Japan's auto company Toyota motors. Since then Kaizen has spread its wings to other industry verticals. Want to know more on industrial Kaizen? Checkout this video ...
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