The infinite search for perfection
Present for years in a highly competitive market, in 2009 Pilot Italia decided to embark on a path that could enable the company to adapt and even anticipate changes. The goal was to generate a continuous flow of ideas, improvements and internal evolutions by directly involving its staff in a process of growth, empowerment and learning. Thus began the Kaizen project, with the active commitment of the owners.
Kaizen is a Japanese word constructed of two ideographs: Kai, which represents change, and Zen, which represents goods and virtue. It can be translated as continuous improvement and change to improve, all synonyms.
At the heart of the Kaizen method is the Deming cycle or PDCA: Plan, Do, Check, Act. Improvements are planned with PLAN; DO is used to apply countermeasures in an experimental process; CHECK is to verify both the result and the process (how the result was achieved); ACT refers to the improvement that creates the standard in order to consolidate the new method (or prevent the problem from repeating itself) and to be able to share the solution. If the idea does not generate the expected improvement, the cycle is repeated.
This is the application of the most powerful tool ever invented by man, the scientific method devoted to improving a company. Kaizen is carried out on the “genba”, the place or position where value is created (the improvement must be done on the manufacturing floor, near the operators and not around an office table).
To adopt Kaizen means to reduce “muda”, another Japanese word identifying all those activities that do not create value for the customer, thus making the processes more efficient. To adopt kaizen also means to increase value, i.e. to intervene on all those activities ranging from the development of new products to the increase of sales, to seek new markets and customers, with the aim of increasing business and creating new products and services.
- Reorganisation of document flow;
- Reduction of tooling times on printing machines;
- Reorganisation, also physical, of the darkroom activities;
- Creation of a department for the preparation of the trolleys transported to the islands, up to the important evolution of the entire organisational process currently underway.
This process is known by the word Kaizen, or continuous improvement. The adjective “continuous” implies that the efforts to improve never end.
It is such a fundamental principle that it is not only applied in the business world, but also on a personal level. Under the influence of kaizen, the traditional Japanese rule is to always do your best to get closer to perfection without ever being able to reach it: this is why the process never ends.
Both in the professional and artistic fields, research is the creation of a “masterpiece”, this principle is encompassed by the word “kessaku” which means to create masterpieces. Two fascinating principles: continually improve (kaizen) to create the best we are capable of (kessaku), a work programme to sustain and perfect our potential.
Kaizen has, therefore, two areas of development. The first involves improving the activities and processes with the aim of improving the company’s competitiveness, which is a fundamental prerequisite for ensuring stability and security for all employees. The second focuses on personal improvement, on the growth of the person who is able to perform his or her job better and better, improving it, learning to collaborate and acquire new skills and abilities. A process of self-development that never ends and that allows continuous human and professional growth.
These values perfectly represent a company with a work ethic where people are valued and appreciated. Where a job well done is given due importance, where attention to detail, to the quality of the final product and the customer’s needs create a continuous effort and commitment to surpass oneself, and to improve. People of value and the value of people. An enlightened leadership that looks ahead with pride, passion, confidence and optimism.