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Tanzania targeting improved workmanship to boost outputMonday, October 05, 2015 > 10:38:40
TANZANIA has embarked on quality and productivity improvement at workplace to boost the country’s economy as it focuses to become middle income nation within the next ten years.
The approach known as Kaizen initially started about two years ago, refers to activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO downwards. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Mr Uledi Musa said here that Tanzania seeks to introduce the philosophy into the country in the industrial sector and gradually spread it into each Tanzanian style of working.
He said here that to achieve the mission, the country has gone an extra mile by starting gathering experience and expertise of other countries. He mentioned the countries as Japan, Singapore and Ethiopia whose implementation of the system on quality and productivity improvement, popularly known as Kaizen has already recorded significant impact to their economies.
“Following its success in Japan, Singapore and now in Ethiopia, we have resorted to introduce the same model in Tanzania and we are confident it can be of great economic benefit to the country if it is applied in an appropriate manner,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary and the team of experts from Tanzania is in Ethiopia to gather more inputs on the country’s experience in implementing Kaizen philosophy through the support of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
According to him, apart from maximum commitment by policy makers and other relevant stakeholders like the Private Sector and Higher Learning Institutions, studies show that since 2013 when it was introduced in Tanzania, Kaizen was the adequate concept to move it to upper economic heights. Already, over 40 enterprises in the country have implemented the methodology of Kaizen with reports showing they obtained tangible results.
Reports have it that scaling up the methodology of Kaizen in a number of institutions and enterprises in the country has shown gains in labour productivity improvement and efficient use of raw materials.
Changing attitudes towards working culture among majority of Tanzanians remains one of the daunting tasks awaiting the full implementation of the system in the country with experts here cautioning serious policy reforms and commitments crucial segments.
Making a presentation on Ethiopian Kaizen experience, an expert from the Ethiopian Kaizen Institute (EKI) Ms Seblewongel Haregewel said as soon the former Prime Minister the late Meles Zenawi adopted the system from Japan all firms in the country were directed to adopt it as well.
“Change of attitudes among the people was the first approach followed by government drive on institutionalisation and comprehensive approach to the agenda,” she said. Ms Haregewel said at least two Universities in Ethiopia have already designed Kaizen curricula to be taught extensively with the government forming and funding the special units on the system as well as providing national leadership on the same.
Another expert views on the agenda was shared by the Chairman of the Industrial Engineering at the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, Prof Daniel Kitaw who said lack of human capital was a major impediment in the realiation of African industrialisation and productivity.
He challenged Tanzania to highly focus on the technological transfer and review of its education system where special skills should be imparted to the students at the grassroots level.
“There is an issue where students in Tanzania and many other African countries are taught facts instead of being nurtured to think critically and provide tangible solutions,” he said.