New Tork productivity guide provides five steps to using “kaizen” for a sustainable competitive advantage

Posted on 1 Jun 2021 by The Manufacturer

Downtime can have exponential consequences on productivity in manufacturing facilities, with knock-on effects on everything from quality to cost.

For the modern manufacturer, minimising downtime is key to optimising all parts of business, and it often starts with successful preventative maintenance and continuous improvement throughout the workplace.

Continuous improvement is the primary aim of the Japanese management theory “kaizen”, an approach to optimise productivity which advocates for all employees to be engaged in the enhancement of a business. Kaizen is a Sino-Japanese term which translates to ‘change for the better’. Its core philosophies offer important learnings for manufacturers looking to increase productivity and it has been further supported by a new study among machine operators.

Building on firsthand experience optimising manufacturing output through preventative maintenance, Tork®, the leading professional hygiene brand by Essity, is now launching a new five-step guide to “kaizen” for manufacturers that aims to help businesses implement a culture of continuous improvement.

Equipped to Improve™ – A guide to improving productivity, is available to download here and contains five concrete tips on how to easily implement a continuous improvement culture in your manufacturing facility. From advice on how to empower employees to insight into optimal cleaning routines, Equipped to Improve™ aims to provide the tools necessary for manufacturers to create a sustainable competitive advantage.

In developing the new guide, Tork worked with renowned kaizen expert Jonas Svanäng. Jonas learned and studied kaizen firsthand when working with Toyota to improve productivity in their factories and has since applied the same expertise within more than 100 organizations internationally. Today, Jonas is regularly invited to share his thoughts on kaizen and Operational Excellence at international conferences.


“The goal of kaizen is to establish a culture of continuous improvement by changing behaviours,” says Svanäng about the approach. “When your company adopts a kaizen mindset where employees are given the opportunity to influence their workplace, it will lead to more motivated employees.”

Whilst all employees have an important role within a company’s continuous improvement culture, it is usually machine operators who work closest to the zones where problems or unnecessary obstacles arise (the kaizen-term for this is muda, meaning business or process waste). They therefore play an especially integral part in preventing and improving productivity within the business, and engaging machine operators is an important step to succeed with preventative maintenance.

Recent research from Tork shows that 89 percent of machine operators believe that continuing to improve preventive maintenance routines is important for their company” and 87 percent agree that preventive maintenance would reduce the breakdowns of machines and lost production time. *

“We want to help companies improve preventive maintenance routines, especially those moving towards autonomous maintenance, by contributing with smart and innovative products that can improve efficiency and reduce waste,” says Jenny Turner, Marketing Director for Industry for Essity’s professional hygiene business. “Because we know small changes as part of continuous improvement initiatives can have a significant impact on quality, cost and delivery,”

Tork offers a wide collection of professional wiping cleaning products as part of the Tork Performance® system, which help optimise autonomous cleaning routines in industrial environments and thereby reduce the downtime of machines. The system includes both a variety of wipers/cleaning cloths and dispensers that are robust and offer a range of unique mounting options which allows them to be placed within easy reach of the operator. As many as 89 percent of machine operators agree that having robust, professional industrial wiper dispensers placed exactly where they need them would support efficient cleaning and preventive maintenance”. *

To learn more about how you can implement a kaizen way of working to make the most of your continuous improvement goal, and gain access to easy, actionable advice that will help you get started, please visit the Tork website and download Equipped to Improve™ – A guide to improving productivity today.