Why a Kaizen Newspaper is Called a Kaizen Newspaper

By Jon Miller Published on November 1st, 2007

The kaizen newspaper is tool used to perform visual management on the process of continuous improvement itself. Many people who have not been introduced to the kaizen newspaper through kaizen events or as part of a program of team-based problem solving have the wrong idea about what it is. The name seems to throw people off.
The kaizen newspaper is not a company newsletter about kaizen. The kaizen newspaper’s primary goal is not to share news about continuous improvement activities at your company. That is a newsletter. The kaizen newspaper is not a report. It is a working document that helps you manage the progress of kaizen activity visually.
Why is it called a kaizen newspaper? Most likely it was a spur of the moment decision by an interpreter looking for a quick way to translate the Japanese “dare-itsu shimbun” (だれいつ新聞) which is literally “who-when newspaper”. It stumped me the first time I heard it from one of my sensei. The word “kaizen” was probably a quick and more elegant substitute for “who-when” by the interpreter to bring this phrase to English speaking ears.
The kaizen newspaper is an action list format that Taiichi Ohno is said to have required his students to post on the shop floor in areas where kaizen was being done so that problems could be identified, written down, and assigned “who” and “when” for action.
The reason why the kaizen newspaper is called a newspaper is so that management will read it daily to find out what is going on in their businesses. Back in the days when people read newspapers only in the dead-tree format, some people read the paper more than once, the morning paper and the evening paper. The kaizen newspaper should be updated and visited regularly by management. The implication is that the “who-when” action to do kaizen should see daily change, and a lack of progress clearly highlighted as an abnormality.
A good newspaper article will contain information detailing where, what, how much, why, who, what, when, and how. The kaizen newspaper also requires this information for the process of effective kaizen, going from an observation of a problem to a proper problem statement, root cause, identifying potential countermeasures, through implementation and checking their effectiveness.
A kaizen newspaper should be on paper, for the simple reason of cost, availability, portability and ease of use by anyone who can pick up a pen. No computer skills are required. Kaizen newspapers should be large, with big clear writing to emphasize the visual management aspect.
Making effective use of “headlines” or highlighted problem statements, key points and effectiveness of certain countermeasure trials can also increase the usefulness of the kaizen newspapers as tools for managers, resulting in more go to gemba behavior.
In short, that is why the kaizen newspaper is called what it is.

  1. ekaizen

    November 2, 2007 - 9:39 am

    Hi, I am interested in these subjects but unfortunately, the information in not very large. So I read your blog frequently, it´s great.
    Can you show me an example of kaizen newspaper?. Thanks.

  2. SitiNur

    June 19, 2009 - 6:51 am

    I am so much obsessed with Kaizen the moment I learned it in my graduate school. I love to learn more and share your experience.
    If you dont mind, I want to keep link of your blog into my blog. Thanks!! 🙂

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