Japanese term for continuous improvement. Usually used to describe a focused, short-term "Kaizen Event" conducted to reorganize a process.
In Lean Six-Sigma terms, it refers to a highly focused, short-term rapid improvement event performed by cross-functional teams at the work-group level that identifies and removes waste from a process. Good Kaizen events follow the Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control (DMAIC) recipe, can be performed quickly (usually less than two months), and involve the use of basic Lean Six-Sigma tools to implement process improvement solutions. Kaizen is focused on rapid improvement.
Planning and Conducting Kaizen Events by EMS Consulting Group, June 2004. - http://www.emsstrategies.com/dd060104article1.html MoreSteam Toolbox - Kaizen - http://www.moresteam.com/lean/kaizen.cfm