Japan to Finance Kaizen Training Centre

Jul 6 , 2019

The construction of a regional centre based on Kaizen philosophy will commence in two months at a cost of 27.5 million dollars.

Fully funded by the government of Japan, the proposed two buildings will rest on a 3,500Sqm plot of land close to the African Union. The centre will provide various training sessions ranging from one week to three months for up to 300 trainees at a time in the Japanese business philosophy that promotes improved working practices and personal efficiency.

Owned by the Ethiopian Kaizen Institute, the project construction was awarded to Mitsubishi Construction, a Japanese construction firm under the umbrella of Mitsubishi Corporation. Nippon Koei Co, Ltd, another Japanese firm that specialises in engineering consulting, will supervise the construction of the project.

Japan International Cooperation Agency financed the design process of the buildings, one of which is a five-storey structure designated for administrative offices and the other is a four-storey training centre. The Agency will also cover the expenses of trainees from other African countries.

Planned to be completed in one and a half years, the building will have an ICT room, a cafeteria and a dormitory that accommodates 150 trainees. The construction of the building will start by September, according to Lebeza Alemu, deputy director of capacity building at the Institute, which was established in 2011 under the initiative of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

The new facility will boost the capacity of the Institute, which has not been operating at full capacity due to space and facility limitations, according to Lebeza.

“But now the centre will help us to use our full potential and provide training for individuals from other African countries,” said Lebeza.

Operating with 200 employees, the Institute has trained more than 52,000 workers and managers since its establishment. According to its figures, the Institute has enabled 600 factories and service providing companies to save nearly 2.8 billion Br by managing waste through the implementation of the Kaizen philosophy.

Lebeza says that the private sector is more keen to take the training than government institutions.

"Most of the higher government officials are not willing to implement Kaizen," Lebeza told Fortune.

Launched eight decades ago in Japan, the philosophy is known for its policies of sorting out and removing all items that are valueless in the work-flow and making everything standardised. The philosophy has been implemented by JICA in eight African countries including Zambia, Tunisia, Kenya, Egypt and Ethiopia. The Agency also provides training opportunities for 25 countries.

In collaboration with the Institute, Mekelle University has been offering a doctor of philosophy (PhD) program in Kaizen Management and a Kaizen master's program since October 2018 and 2014, respectively.

Messele Haile, an assistant professor in the civil engineering department at Addis Abeba University who believes Kaizen can increase productivity, recommends the Institute consider the design of the building in making it suitable for continuous improvements.

"It should also have experimental places and a small workshop to give hands-on training," he said.

PUBLISHED ON Jul 06,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1001]

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