Kaizen or “continuous improvement” is a philosophy aimed at the improvement of processes by eliminating waste, making work simple and undertaking such efforts on a sustained basis. It is a never-ending quest to create a better workplace, better products and greater value to stakeholders with one set of improvements becoming the basis to launch another set of improvements.
Kaizen finds application in almost all areas including manufacturing, services, healthcare, banking, government and other industries. To be effective, Kaizen has to become a daily process or a routine activity ingrained into the normal workflow rather than a special intervention.
A block diagram is a highly structured flowchart that presents a quick overview of major process steps, key process participants and relationships, and interfaces among the steps and the participants. It finds use in high-level applications that require an overview of the entire range of the process or the overall concept rather than detailed specifics of the project.
A good analogy is a state map, which depicts only the main highways. Zooming inside reveals the county tracks and city roads. Similarly, the block diagram depicts only the events. Specific tasks and sub-processes inside the events may require separate flow charts and tables to provide an in-depth illustration.
Block diagrams find use when new processes are designed or existing processes are improved. Kaizen events aim to present workable solutions to problems or tap latent opportunities and as such block diagrams ideally suit the Kaizen planning process.