How Brand ID in Finland became a leader in their field of printing solutions by starting KAIZEN™ from sales and top management

“Don’t start with production but start with sales and the management team. Then you will get better results in a shorter period of time”: That’s Juha Heljakka’s conclusion on how to get a successful KAIZEN™ transformation going. The Owner and Managing Director of Brand ID, based in Pori/Finland discusses with Robin Cox, Kaizen Institute, Ltd., that the approach is particularly useful for family business that think in the long-term and want to develop their business in a sustainable way. This concludes our Brand ID trilogy after providing insights into how to get a KAIZEN™ transformation started and portraying KAIZEN™ as a holistic approach to advance company culture.

The Brand ID Management Model

Brand ID developed its management model based on KAIZEN™. The model has been gradually implemented in day-to-day operations. Visual and factual management is one part of the game. Measures and indicators for strategy implementation are defined in the strategy room – with one of the indicators being the number of improvement proposals implemented by the company’s employees. The number of ideas has continuously increased, and their realization has accelerated. The development of operations is, for example reflected in quality and delivery reliability.

The development is tracked in various ways: Value chain Lead Times are shorter, and the number of pending deliveries is reduced. Things are done faster, and flexibility is improving. Employees involved in implementing the change are also more motivated. In one recent value chain project, the Lead Time from customer order to delivery was reduced by 60 percent.

What are your future plans with KAIZEN™?

Our future plan is to grow and to use KAIZEN™ as a strategic methodology in the core of our business system. We are growing and conquering Scandinavia more and more, so the future looks very promising. In general, we have become much more confident because of KAIZEN™: We know what we can do with that!

KAIZEN™ in the sales and customer service area

Also, KAIZEN™ heavily supports us in finding new approaches to ESG – Environment, Social and Governance – issues. We think that we are an environmentally sound company. We have our environmental systems in place since 2004, we are certified according to ISO 14,001. And still we see that there are a lot of things to do. As family business, we need to think long-term. I always say that ‘our quarter takes ’25 years’. KAIZEN™ helps us to have this long-term perspective on sustainability, and to improve steps by step based on continuous improvement.

What advice can you offer others who are considering a KAIZEN™ journey?

Before, we thought that our way of doing business and managing the company was pretty good. We saw some good results and growth. But if you want to be a leader in your segment, you have to be a little bit better.

For those who are hesitating, I recommend to read the Harvard Business Review article about Danaher and its business system. This company has grown successfully all by doing the KAIZEN™ Business System and using KAIZEN™ principles. Considering this: The only thing I can suggest is don’t be afraid of implementing KAIZEN™ to get this additional edge. But don’t start from production, start from sales and management. Then you will get more results in a shorter period of time.

KAIZEN™ is not a one-trick pony. The power of KAIZEN™ is that it comes from the owners and comes from the strategy. It’s about how to lead the company, how to develop and lead the projects and how to communicate the strategy to the organization. It’s not only for production, not only for marketing. It contains everything you need in your business. And that’s the power of KAIZEN™.

“KAIZEN™ is not a one trick pony. The power of KAIZEN™ is that it comes from the owners and from the strategy. It contains everything you need in your business.”

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