Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Enterprises are faced with increasing economic competition and managers are obliged to look for methods that will ensure a competitive edge in their companies' markets. These methods include managerial concepts that employ common sense and are low cost. One of these approaches is the KAIZEN methodology, of Japanese origin; kaizen means continuous improvement (CI) when translated. A mining company, despite some of its idiosyncrasies, is just an enterprise where the application of KAIZEN can be advantageous. The company investigated, OKD, is the only domestic producer of hard coal in the Czech Republic and operates four mines that produce 11 Mt of coal annually. The OKD management team opted for KAIZEN as their principal method of continuous quality improvement. This paper suggests ideas for development and application of processes that provide for continuing improvement of production and management. The authors have taken the OKD Company to be their benchmark in the field of mining activities. The paper also focuses on possible difficulties accompanying the introduction of CI sustainable methods. Three years of application of CI methods has increased the income of the company by almost US$38.1 million, which provides a strong argument for continued application.
Keywords : KAIZEN; management; continuous improvement; mining enterprise.