The Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Kaoru Yoshimura, has urged Ghanaian businesses, especially small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), to embrace the Japanese “Kaizen concept” to expand their operations.
He said the Kaizen concept, introduced in Japan in the early 1960s, was the reason why the economy of Japan had witnessed a massive development and helped to boost more than four million SMEs in the country.
“It is used to describe a company’s culture where the work of each individual in an institution, right from the chief executive officer to the front desk staff, is regularly evaluated to ensure improvement in performance,” he said.
In order to implement the concept successfully, Mr Yoshimura said, it was compulsory that all employees received basic training and guidelines on what to do to enhance quality and productivity at the workplace.
So far, the concept has been adopted by Toyota and other Japanese companies worldwide.
The Kaizen concept was launched in Accra in 2015 and is expected to end in 2018.
Mr Yoshimura said ever since the Kaizen idea was introduced, many SME businesses had continued to reap benefits from the project they had implemented, adding that many SMEs in Ghana had, through the concept, recorded increased productivity of at least 30 per cent.
According to him, Ghana would be one of the most successful countries implementing Kaizen by the end of the programme and lead other African countries, especially those in West Africa.
“So far, the government of Ghana, through relevant ministries and agencies, particularly, the National Board for Small-Scale Industries (NBSSI), has been very instrumental in implementing the Kaizen project,” Mr Yoshimura said.
The Chief Representative of JICA Ghana, Mr Koji Makino, said the award was instituted to acknowledge the tremendous output of SMEs and application of high Kaizen skills by Business Advisory Centres (BAC) to their clients.
In all, 20 individuals and BACs offices in the Northern and Ashanti regions were honoured for their efforts to promote Kaizen in Ghana.
Mr Makino, therefore, stressed the commitment of JICA to work hand-in-hand with the government to help create a conducive environment for the private sector to develop.
For his part, the Executive Director of NBSSI, Mr Lukman Abdul-Rahim, said plans were far advanced to extend the Kaizen project to other regions.
He said the NBSSI would soon undertake projects beginning with the media on how to introduce the Kaizen concept into their operations.
Mr Abdul-Rahman, therefore, expressed gratitude to the Japanese government for the support it was giving to Ghanaian businesses.