The first ever Lean Management awards in the Middle East enjoyed a glittering launch in December.

The Four Principles Kaizen Awards in Riyadh recognized five organizations for delivering substantial improvements in business efficiency, agility and profitability.

The ceremony at Riyadh’s Four Seasons Hotel also featured a presentation by global Lean management expert Takao Sakai, the best-selling author of The Secrets Behind Toyota’s Success and a great-nephew of Dr Kotaro Honda, one of the originators of the Kaizen philosophy.

Hassan Jameel, Deputy President and Vice Chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel, said: “We are delighted by the reaction to the inaugural Four Principles Awards – including the superb quality of the entries we received.  Kaizen or Lean management is a philosophy we learned and embraced from our long-term partner Toyota, mirroring the long-lasting Saudi Arabia-Japan relationship, and it has underpinned our approach and success for many years.  At a time when the private sector has a vital role in the delivery of Vision 2030, we are delighted to be encouraging Lean management in Saudi Arabia.”

Established in 2010, Four Principles works with businesses across Saudi Arabia and the wider MENAT region to drive better performance through the adoption of Kaizen principles in line with the aims of Saudi Vision 2030.

Entrants were asked to share their Lean Management success stories in one of two categories, ‘Continuous Improvement Process’ or ‘Lean Transformation’.

All entries had to include details such as the challenges faced by the company, the objective, cost and duration of the project, the number of employees involved, and the then demonstrate the resulting improvements in terms of quality, lead times, costs and sustainability.  Prizes on offer included a sector-tailored five-day trip to Japan for three company executives, to see at first-hand how Lean practices are implemented in Japan’s most pioneering firms.