JICA, NBSSI launch project

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) have launched the National ‘Kaizen’ Project, aimed at helping micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to improve productivity and quality.

The three-year project, which is an extension of a pilot scheme, successfully implemented in the Ashanti Region targets businesses, which are engaged in agro processing, value addition and manufacturing with emphasis on rural-based enterprises.

The project is to assist the enterprises to add value to products, have secured places of work and to always improve production processes directed at expanding their businesses.

About 36 enterprises benefited from the piloted project, while more than 100 companies are being targeted in the next phase of the scheme.

The Chief Representative of JICA Ghana, Mr Koji Makino, explained that Kaizen is a concept, which has the philosophy of quality and productivity improvement in businesses, a method originated in Japan and developed by car manufacturers like Toyota.

The Kaizen is based on fundamentals that describe how to organize a workplace to ensure efficiency and effectiveness by identifying and sorting the items used, maintaining the area and items clean, and sustaining the new order and standard works.

“The standardisation is realized when there is clear understanding among employees as to how they should do the work prevails,” the official explained.

The method when applied all the time enables the enterprises to reduce production cost, raise productivity, improve quality, boost sales, and profits.

“Kaizen is a base of supporting high quality of Japanese manufacturers, and now beyond Japan, it is applied worldwide, though names have changed,” he said.

He said the principle worked in a miraculous and special way that companies and organisations who had appropriately managed it improved their productivity tremendously and enhanced growth.

Mr Kaoru Yoshimura, the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, stated that the project was a realization of Japan’s commitment, in 2013, to support private-sector-led growth and pledge to establish human resource development centres for businesses and industry in 10 African countries.

He said Ethiopia was the ‘top-runner’ in the Kaizen area, adding that an approximately 44,000 technicians and engineers had already received training in the methodology.

“I am very much confident that this National Kaizen Project will certainly contribute to a steady development of SMEs in Ghana,” he said.

Mr Lukman Abdul-Rahim, the Executive Director of NBSSI, said his sector disbursed at least two million Ghana cedis annually o businesses, while schemes were also made available at flexible terms including simplified repayment schedules to the SMEs.

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