August 4, 2014
Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, center, hands out a gold medal to Reshed Musa, an outstanding individual performer from Matahara Sugar Factory at the National Kaizen Award ceremony.
A pharmaceutical company and two publicly owned sugar factories were among the recipients when the Ethiopian Kaizen Institute handed out the third round of National Kaizen Awards in Ethiopia on June 28.
The award categories were human resource development institutes, import substitution companies (which replace imports with domestic production), export companies and construction companies. The awards recognize organizations that have successfully implemented kaizen.
Kaizen is a method of bottom-up continuous improvement in productivity and quality developed by Japanese industry and made famous by Toyota. Well-known examples of kaizen methods include statistical analysis and Total Quality Management.
Twelve companies were recognized in the four categories, and together they are said to have reduced their defect rate by 57 percent and increased their productivity by 50 percent, saving some $17 million.
Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen gave out the medals in a ceremony at Capital Hotel, Addis Ababa, on June 28.
“Companies without a firm base in quality and productivity can rarely survive in the international market, and kaizen is a scientific tool that the Ethiopian Government has adopted to ensure the country's transformation to industrialization,” he said.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency's first kaizen project in Sub-Saharan Africa began in 2009 in Ethiopia at the request of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi Asres, a kaizen enthusiast.
Mekonnen thanked the government of Japan for its continuous support and gave a certificate of appreciation to JICA.
*The contents of this story is a summary of a story published by the JICA Ethiopia office. For the original story, please see below.