Konichiwa, from Crossroads! All of us at Crossroads truly believe in the importance of excellence. We believe in being our best but not stopping there. There is always room for improvement. A business concept made famous by Toyota which explains this idea of progress is known by a Japanese word “Kaizen” which translates simply to “continuous improvement” or “good change”. So, today let’s talk about kaizen and Crossroads! First, we’ll analyze the essence of kaizen on a deeper level. Next, we’ll briefly look at how Toyota is constantly able to demonstrate this process so excellently. Lastly, we’ll see how Crossroads says “Kaizen”. Without further delay, let’s get started.
What exactly is kaizen? Well, as stated before, it simply means “continuous improvement”, but it’s much more than a simple phrase. It is a philosophy. According to an article from the Environmental Protection Agency, it is considered to be a “building block” of all lean production methods, and focuses on continuous elimination of waste and improving productivity. This strategy aims to involve workers from multiple functions and levels in the organization in working together to address a problem or improve a process. Essentially, building relationships is extremely important! A company, who made this simple, common sense idea renowned, is none other than Toyota Motor Company.
Next, how is Toyota able to demonstrate Kaizen so exceptionally? An article from Discovery explains that “Following World War II, Toyota’s Taiichi Ohno was sent to the United States to get ideas for Japanese machine shops. He went back home with an interesting suggestion: Don’t follow the model of Ford’s assembly lines – follow the model of American grocery stores. Ohno was critical of the waste and inefficiency on display in American auto manufacturing, while he was deeply impressed by the minimum-inventory philosophy being used by the average supermarket. Ohno made his recommendations to Toyota accordingly.” This care is seen through the huge success of Toyota as a business. For example, Toyota attempts to avoid holding excess inventory, which takes up space and can be lost. Instead, Toyota plants order exactly as much inventory as they need, and they time their orders so that products arrive exactly when the plants need them. That is what Kaizen is all about.
So, how does Crossroads say “Kaizen”? Creating a relationship with the customer is crucial. First we say “Hello Mike, welcome back! I see you’re looking for…” We make it a personalized salutation specific and valuable to each of our customers based on what they’re looking for and how we can best serve them. When the connection is established, being personal and friendly doesn’t just stop at the end of the conversation. Even after we are done talking to the customer, we will set up appointments or other arrangements the customer needs because “delivering WOW” is a constant activity. Delivering WOW is what we do. “Delivering WOW” is how we say, “Kaizen”!
What exactly is WOW you may ask? It is an unexpected, positive experience. A man well acquainted with greateness, a NFL quarterback who led his team to victory in SuperBowl VI and who also was the first NFL player to win both the Heisman Trophy and SuperBowl MVP, Roger Staubach, captured this idea of unexpected excellence when he said, “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” The people at Crossroads don’t just want to stop when we reach excellence, for excellence is a continuous pursuit under the mindset of Kaizen. This is why we chat 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 364 days a year (not on Christmas). WOW never ends.
This philosophy of Kaizen seen in both Toyota and Crossroads sets both apart from other business cultures. In fact, Crossroads serves more Toyota dealers than any other franchise. The reason is that Crossroads culture overlaps most with Toyota’s due to their mutual pursuit of excellence through the Kaizen philosophy.
Perhaps Kaizen isn’t necessarily a complex, foreign term. It is simply taking notice of a need or concern and addressing it with common sense and care.. Kaizen is not simply JUST doing what is needed but rather taking it a step further for an exceptional experience. That is the essence of delivering WOW.
To see how you can partner with Crossroads for a Kaizen experience at your business, email us at email@example.com and we’ll help you deliver WOW.