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Improve Internal Processes – AGI Tells Business   
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Even as business grapple with external difficulties like high interest rates and lack of power, which they have little control over, they need to pay a lot more attention to improving their internal process, the Executive Secretary of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) Seth Twum-Akwaboah, has said.

By improving their internal process, business will develop the “shock- absorbers” that enable them to withstand the myriad challenges in the business environment, Mr. Akwaboah told the B&FT on the sidelines of a training workshop for AGI members on the Kaizen Concept of business improvement.

“If you look at the business environment today, there are a lot of challenges of power, challenges of interest rates, challenges regarding imports and so on. But these are external problems which you individually cannot solve. As a company you do not have control over these factors.

“So our position has always been that, while advocating for improvement of the business environment with regard to these external factors, the internal structures must also improve; companies must prepare themselves to surmount some of these challenges, and basically that is why we have partnered the Kaizen Institute to introduce this concept,” he said.

The Kaizen Concept is said to have originated from Japan after World War II, and is a concept for continues improvement of internal processes in companies. Kaizen, Japanese for “improving,” or refers to philosophies or practices that focus upon continues improvement of process in manufacturing, engineering, and business management.

It is said to have been applied in healthcare, psychotherapy, life-coaching, government, banking, and other industries. When used in the business-sense and applied to the workplace, Kaizen refers to the activities that continually improve all functions, and involve all employees from the CEO to assembly-line workers. It also applies to processes such as purchasing logistics that cross organisational boundaries into the supply-chain. By improving standardised activities and processes, Kaizen aims to eliminate waste.

In an interview with B&FT, Lead Consultant from the Kaizen Institute of India, Vinod Grover, said a successful roll-out of the concept in any organisation begins with commitment from top-management toward continues improvement of staff and processes.

“The first sign of success is when the leadership embraces this methodology and starts changing the way they treat employees. Respect for employees is an extremely powerful part of the Kaizen philosophy; and when the leaders provide them with the resources, the stability and training, they will be able to do their jobs successfully,” he said.

“So it starts from commitment from top-level management, and our founder [Masaaki Imai] says that there are three secrets to success. The first is top management commitment, the second is top management commitment, and the third is top management commitment” he added.

Mr. Twum-Akwaboah of the AGI said after introducing the concept, the consultants will be available to provide direct support to the companies to implement it.

Local consultants, he added, have been identified to abide by the concept and pass it on so that consultants do not always have to come from outside to coach. “So it is a continues process; it is not a one-off event. It is going to continue to engage our members on it.”
Source: B&FT

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