Outstanding Tanzanian companies awarded in the 6th Tanzania KAIZEN Award Competition

Two Tanzanian companies, Med-Foods Arusha Ltd and Polyfoam Ltd, will represent the country in the forthcoming Africa KAIZEN Award Competition 2022 which will be held in Cameroon during the Africa...

Friday March 18 2022

Two Tanzanian companies, Med-Foods Arusha Ltd and Polyfoam Ltd, will represent the country in the forthcoming Africa KAIZEN Award Competition 2022 which will be held in Cameroon during the Africa KAIZEN Annual Conference 2022 (AKAC 2022) scheduled in October this year.

The two companies emerged outstanding winners during the 6th Tanzania KAIZEN Award Competition organized by the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade (MIIT) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) held in Dar es Salaam on February 9 and 10, 2022.

The two enterprises were respectively awarded in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) category and the Large Company category, out of the 18 companies that had been selected from nationwide regional competitions.

KAIZEN is a Japanese word of management methodology/philosophy whose meaning is; “Change for the better” or “Continuous improvement”.

It has been applied in Tanzania for improving the quality and productivity of local industries and services through the MIIT-JICA joint Project on “Strengthening Manufacturing Enterprises through Quality and Productivity Improvement (KAIZEN)” since 2013.

The AKAC, collaboratively organized by the African Union Development Agency (AUDA), the host country’s Government, and JICA, has been held annually, and is the largest international event for KAIZEN in Africa with the objective of sharing knowledge and experience among KAIZEN implementing countries, and disseminating KAIZEN philosophy and activities on the African continent.

The AKAC 2021 was hosted by Tanzania and successfully completed in August 2021, and the AKAC 2022 will be hosted by Cameroon and scheduled in October 2022.

The selected two Tanzanian companies, Med-Foods Arusha Ltd and Polyfoam Ltd, will present their KAIZEN activities and achievements to representatives from other African countries at AKAC 2022, and thereby share Tanzania’s best practices to the whole of the African continent.

Kaizen 2

The KAIZEN implementation team from different section


Location: Arusha

Year of Foundation: 2009

Number of Employees: 25

Main Business: Food processing (Mainly spices and nutritious flour)

Med-Foods emerged as the outstanding winner for SME category. They sell their products in retail shops and supermarkets, as well as to wholesale buyers who buy in bulky and trade to other retailers. They also export their products to Kenya, especially the nutritious flour.

Before starting KAIZEN, the company was facing a challenge of high waste on flour production caused by both machines and human operators. Mr. Robert Likwawa, a representative of Med-Foods, said the company applied a “Waste Reduction (to reduce defect rate)”, as a KAIZEN theme, to resolve the challenge of high waste in flour processing.

“We organized a KAIZEN implementation team of seven staff from different sections,” he noted. The target was to reduce flour waste due to spillage from milling and packing processes from 100Kg to 20Kg per a production batch of 2,000Kg.

After a thorough observation, the KAIZEN team identified that the root causes of waste are two: leakage holes on the milling machines, and high speed of manual packing process. The team set countermeasures as (1) to modify the machine, (2) to seal the holes using the special sealer, and (3) to conduct specific training for employees on proper packing without spillage.

As a result, the waste on both milling and packing activities went down from 100Kg to 17Kg per production batch, which is equivalent as defect rate from 5% to 0.9%. “To ensure continuous improvement on our milling/packing processes, the company is promising to procure an automatic line of flour milling/packing in the next two years. The machines will highly solve the challenge of waste and defects caused by human/manual operations”, Mr. Likwawa noted.

Polyfoam ltd

Location: Arusha

Year of Foundation: 1980

Number of Employees: 566

Main Business: Manufacturing household products

Polyfoam Company emerged the outstanding winner for the large company category. Before applying KAIZEN philosophy, the company was facing a problem of low amount of production.

They produced the products well below their target in 2018. Through their internal diagnosis, they found main factors of the situation, i.e. improper plant layout of production process. Especially, (1) Complicated processing path, (2) Huge number of “Work in process”, (3) Lack of space, and (4) Time consuming.

To resolve these problems, the company started to provide training of KAIZEN for all employees, and they have implemented “5S” (*) in order to simplify the process and reduce finding time for necessary materials/tools.

Simultaneously, they have tried to eliminate/combine the unnecessary process to shorten lead-time for mold setting from 120 minutes to 40 minutes.

In addition, they installed material handling equipment to reduce number of transportation between several processes. As a result, their productivity in 2021 has increased by more than 30% compared to 2018.

(*) The “5S” is a tool of KAIZEN, and means workplace organization by “Sorting, Setting in order, Shining, Standardizing, and Sustaining”.

The company organizes periodical monitoring system (e.g. weekly seminar, monthly/annual audit, etc.) in order to sustain their activities and to improve their productivity continuously.

About JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency)

An incorporated administrative agency in charge of administering Japan’s ODA (Official Development Assistance).

It is one of the world’s largest bilateral aid agency supporting socioeconomic development in developing countries in different regions of the world. In Tanzania, JICA has been a long partner for 60 years in many sectors since 1962.