Lean Management : How to do a Kaizen Workshop

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

  1. Clearly define the scope : determine the start point of the process ad the final product
  2. 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.
  3. Create a state map of the steps of the current process, the time it takes to perform the task and wait times between processes.
  4. Collect all relevant documents while creating the state map
  5. Post a preliminary current state map in the team room and let space for notes and modifications with Post-its.

Phase 2 : do it

  1. Who is the customer. Identify the need, the processes, the add value.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Implementation : do it! Re-layout workplaces (one-piece-flow, 5S, visual display) create standard instructions, redesign procedures and documents, train people.
  5. 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

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