News Center

Monday, June 4, 2012

Globally renowned business expert to visit Franciscan St. Francis Health


INDIANAPOLIS – Maasaki Imai has earned reputation helping organizations and businesses around the world to develop quality management processes through an approach called kaizen, a Japanese word meaning “continuous improvement” and “change for the better.”

This Japanese consultant is visiting Franciscan St. Francis Health-Indianapolis on Wednesday, June 13, for one of only five sites he will visit during his U.S. tour. Imai will emphasize the importance of leadership in effecting positive changes and discuss his newly released 2nd edition of Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management.


The half-day event gets under way at 8 a.m. in the hospital auditorium, located at 8111 S. Emerson Ave. To register go to


Originating in Japan in the ashes of World War II, the kaizen philosophy is used by many health care organizations, government, banking, and myriad industries around the globe. Its premise is that small changes, occurring at various levels and in coordination, lead to better customer service, more efficient work and reduction in waste.


When used in the workplace, the process promotes activities which continually improve all functions, and involves all employees from the CEO to front-line workers.


Imai established the Kaizen Institute in 1986 to help Western companies introduce kaizen concepts, systems and tools. That same year, he published his book on Japanese management, Kaizen: The Key to Japan's Competitive Success. This best-selling book has since been translated into 14 languages.


“Mr. Imai selected our hospital because of its steady and successful application of kaizen, which has strengthened our health care mission and goals,” said Joe Swartz director of business transformation.


Franciscan St. Francis Health adopted kaizen in 2007. Tens of thousands of suggestions and changes have been implemented since that time; 4,000 were submitted last year alone. In those five years, kaizen has saved St. Francis’ three hospitals in excess of $4 million.


“The most important thing is that kaizen has engaged all our staff members to make improvements that are good for themselves, good for their respective departments, good for our patients and their families, good for the hospital and good for our community,” said Swartz, who along with Mark Graban wrote Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Continuous ImprovementsDescription: