How does Kaizen influence the Katana Graph culture?

By: Katana Graph

October 04, 2021

How does Kaizen influence the Katana Graph culture?

A company’s attitude towards product development is as important as the company’s attitude about growth. There are plenty of technology companies that impose a process of perfection rather than one of iteration. The perfection mindset often creates a product having no path to innovation - that product is often one-and-done. A company’s approach to continuous improvement speaks to the company’s understanding of innovation.

Many years ago, I read a book titled “Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success” by Masaaki Imai. The book was published in the late 80’s, at a time when Japan was stunning the US and the world with its industrial prowess and its ability to take on US giants like GM, Ford and Chrysler and beat them at their own game.

 

How might the approach to perfection be combined with innovation to create a product that has an evolution over time? Continuous improvement seeks to eliminate barriers that create waste, overproduction, and inconsistency. There are different approaches to operational and business excellence including Six Sigma, Lean, and Kaizen. Only one of the approaches is focused on a holistic process for engaging the entire company. That is the essence of Kaizen.

Keshav Pingali incorporates Kaizen, the philosophy of continuous improvements and becoming better over time into the Katana culture. Kaizen means good change. Toyota popularized the Kaizen as an integral part of the Toyota production system.

Keshav Pingali recalls, “Many years ago, I read a book titled “Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success” by Masaaki Imai. The book was published in the late 80’s, at a time when Japan was stunning the US and the world with its industrial prowess and its ability to take on US giants like GM, Ford and Chrysler and beat them at their own game.

Kaizen is a Zen Buddhist concept that says you will never get anything completely right, so your goal should be to make continuous improvements and become better all the time. When Toyota and other Japanese companies first exported cars to the US in the early 70’s, their quality was not great and executives in Detroit were very amused (David Halberstam’s book “The Reckoning” describes this era in wonderful detail). However, Toyota and Honda learned quickly from their mistakes, figured out how to build cars for the US market and kept improving their processes until they surpassed Detroit in quality and innovation. Another aspect of Kaizen is that it requires participation of everyone in the company from CEO to entry-level employees to analyze and improve processes. I have made “Kaizen” one of our guiding philosophies at Katana.”

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