Kaizen project to improve productivity of Tunisian companies extended to late 2020
24/06/2019 17:07, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP)-An agreement to extend the Kaizen project, Japan's method for continuously improving productivity and quality in Tunisia, to the end of 2020 was signed on Monday in Tunis at a meeting with the press held on the sidelines of the Kaizen Africa 2019 annual conference, which is held for the first time in Tunisia (June 24-26, 2019).

Since 2006, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Small and Medium Enterprises, has launched the "Quality and Productivity Improvement Project", the second phase of which will end in 2019.

Nearly 72 companies operating in the electrical and mechanical, chemical and textile-clothing sectors benefited from the second phase of this programme and were able to improve their productivity.

On average, the rate of productivity improvement in these companies has reached 60%, said Director General of the Management Unit of the National Quality Promotion Programme UGPQ, stemming from the Ministry of Industry, Zouheir Makhloufi.

This extension agreement was signed by the resident representative of JICA Tunisia Toshifumi Egusa and the Minister of Industry and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). It stipulates four axes, relating to further development of skills at the level of technical centres, the contribution to the development of private sector skills (companies and consultants), the generalisation of the concept at the regional level and the institutionalisation of a regulatory framework for the certification of Tunisian skills that have received knowledge and know-how on this approach. In addition, a legal framework for the award of a national prize must be put in place to encourage companies to integrate this concept (kaizen) into their work processes.

Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning "continuous improvement. They are small improvement actions at a very affordable cost carried out by all the company's employees. These actions are often implemented with the resources at the company's disposal (machines, manpower, etc.). They aim to improve productivity and product quality as well as the well-being of the staff, especially as they make work easier and more comfortable.

Nearly 54 master trainers and trainers, 23 assistant university professors, 150 students, more than 200 companies and 650 economic operators have benefited from this programme and raised awareness of the importance of this concept, which will be extended to all sectors and even within the Tunisian administration.

For his part, Egusa stressed the interest that JICA's headquarters in Tokyo attaches to the extension of this agreement, with the objective of extending this concept throughout Tunisia and at the regional level, especially since Tunisia is a pioneer of the "Kaizen" approach on an African scale". "Tunisia is like Japan, it does not have natural resources, so it must always rely on its skills, which are the key to the country's development," he added.

Egusa reported that JICA is currently examining several projects with the Tunisian government, particularly in terms of flood control and electricity...

For his part, Industry Minister Slim Feriani voiced delighted at the opening of the conference, to share the Tunisian experience and good practices in KAIZEN with the African countries participating in this conference as part of the various visits to be made to Tunisian companies and institutions that have adopted this approach, which will ensure the strengthening of productivity, one of the key factors for economic growth.

Prizes will be awarded at this conference on the theme of "Continuous Improvement in a Changing Society" to companies that have achieved the best performance in terms of quality and productivity through the Kaizen approach and that will serve as models in Africa.

The main objective of this Conference, organised at the initiative of JICA and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), is to promote the KAIZEN concept and spread it in Africa, to exchange successful experiences in the different countries and to strengthen the network among all participating countries.

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