Kaizen is the Philosophy of Continuous Improvement. Learn how to do it.
Before starting : one week events, analyse the current process, develop a lean vision and begin implementation. Include the manager and all the people who do the work. Include also customers and suppliers. Max 15 people.
Phase 1 : preparation
- Clearly define the scope : determine the start point of the process ad the final product
- Set objectives. Measurable and specific goals to reduce lead time, improve quality, and reduce cost. The target should be agressive to create challenge and innovation.
- Create a state map of the steps of the current process, the time it takes to perform the task and wait times between processes.
- Collect all relevant documents while creating the state map
- Post a preliminary current state map in the team room and let space for notes and modifications with Post-its.
Phase 2 : do it
- Who is the customer. Identify the need, the processes, the add value.
- Current state map : Genchi Genbutsu. Walk physically through the process. Identify the value added for the customer (what he is paying for), the non-value added (pure waste), and the non-value added, but required.
Calculate metrics : total lead time, value-added ratio (time between value and non-value added work), travel distance of the product and of the people, hours productivity, quality rate.
- Develop future vision with brainstorming and ideas from the participants. Create one-piece flow, cross-functional and colocated teams, choose a manager, build in quality and avoid approvals, checking, use visual controls. Calculate metrics, compare and get the agreement of everybody.
- Implementation : do it! Re-layout workplaces (one-piece-flow, 5S, visual display) create standard instructions, redesign procedures and documents, train people.
- Evaluate : measuring performance. Post the metrics weekly on a “team status board” in the main work area.
Phase 3 : after
Sustaining and continuous improvement. The team meets weekly to review, discuss and improve.
The content of this post is inspired by the book “The Toyota Way” – Jeffrey K. Liker