Kaizen is the Japanese word for “continuous improvement” or “changing for the better.” It’s also a business philosophy of making incremental changes to reduce operational waste and become more competitive. Dante Garcia, an Estonian e-resident, seeks to apply these principles via his company upKaizen.
“Kaizen means the fruitful result of making small changes over time,” says Garcia, 46, a native of Argentina whose decades of experience have brought him to around 60 countries. “It’s the process of gaining results by making changes on a continuous basis.”
Garcia worked for large companies, gaining expertise in engineering and supply chain and operations management.
Then, at the age of 40, he had the perfunctory midlife awakening or crisis; one that led him to look elsewhere for a way forward, and for new inspiration. As fate would have it, at that time he attended a seminar in Buenos Aires for digital nomads.
“It was during the time when I quit my job, and I was searching for the next step,” says Garcia,
“Someone discussed e-Residency and I thought it was just amazing. I applied right away and went to Europe to complete the process.”
When Garcia was in Spain finishing up his application for e-Residency, he took time off to travel, find himself, make new contacts, and begin a new quest for understanding that continues to this day and infuses his work with upKaizen.
He also authored a book, The Field of Stars, written while he completed the Camino de Santiago or the Way of St. James, a popular pilgrimage that terminates at Santiago de Compostela, a city in northwestern Spain.
“It was time for an inner journey, a pilgrimage in many countries,” says Garcia, who also walked long-distance pilgrimages in Italy, Norway, Israel, and Lithuania during this time. He also traveled to Morocco, Belarus, and Lithuania, before his current stay in Lviv. “The book is a way to spread not only engineering experience, but life experience,” he says.
It has also been translated into nine languages — Spanish, English, French, Japanese, Lithuanian, Bulgarian, German, Portuguese, and Italian. An Estonian version might also be in its future. “I am looking to translate it into other languages as a way to connect the world,” Garcia says.
upKaizen focuses on operations management, supply chain management, and also offers coaching and training. All of these efforts are undertaken to reduce operational waste, optimize inventory levels, and improve delivery times. As an e-resident, Garcia is able to provide these services as a EU company,
“It allows me to keep going as a global entrepreneur, keep moving, keep learning more, and to keep connecting with different people and cultures without sticking to a fixed office”.
Being global is certainly a part of Garcia’s perspective. By his own accord, he is a global student, or a world citizen. “This is how I describe myself,” he says, “and I like it very much.” Travelling has therefore been a part of his self-development effort, which feeds into consulting, coaching, and training. With travel restrictions in place for nearly a year, it has been harder to do that, Garcia admits, yet Lviv, a former regional capital within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, continues to inspire him.
Here, he spends his days not only helping clients, but continuing on his path of self development.
“I spend a lot of time doing meditation, learning more about myself, gaining confidence, developing leadership skills,” says Garcia of his approach. “It helps me be a better person every day,” he says. “It is about putting all that knowledge, those soft skills, into my engineering life.”
He also is a member of the vibrant digital e-Residency community, which offers him the opportunity to meet new potential clients too, which is a plus as he aims to scale the business.
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And what does Garcia advise his clients? Keep an eye on the long term.
“Whenever you look for fast results, of course you can create action plans and go for that,” says Garcia. “But consider that the long term is better for optimisation, for perpetuating business,” he says. “So over many years and improvements you can have a reasonable profit, by reducing costs and increasing revenues.”
This year, Garcia has pledged to further devote himself to upKaizen. “This means dedication to my clients, partners, and collaborators, who allow me to grow personally, spiritually, and professionally, improving the quality of my services,” he says.
He will also continue to study kaizen, leadership, and supply management. And, if fate allows, he might try to carry out another pilgrimage on foot, either in Estonia or Japan. Most important, Garcia says, he will continue to live his life journey “fully and with gratitude.”
Read more about Dante, upKaizen, and the business philosophy of kaizen on his company’s website: