Kaizen means continuous improvement. The emphasis is on small steps that help us control the process and build on the previous gain.
Why Continuous Improvement?
Have you ever noticed how long new ideas last once they have been implemented?
Maybe you’ve had some lean initiatives over the years, whether it was 5S, single-piece flow, standard work, kanban or something else, but nothing seems to “stick.”
Crisis management and volume may be typical preoccupations, with people resolving issues as they arise rather than finding long-term solutions. The day ends with the usual production meeting with its semi-heated exchange of problems and quick fixes. Sound like your company?
It is pretty clear that you need better ways of implementing lean manufacturing processes.
Yet implementation of lean does not necessarily guarantee success if there is no support from top management.
Without that support and a foundation for change, new ideas will fall by the wayside.
There has to be focus, dedication, and commitment to making and sustaining long-term improvements.
The continuous improvement philosophy can create that foundation.
Here is how a program can help your company.
Create a Committee
Not just another team, this is a group of upper management leaders who oversee all kaizen-event-related activities.
They are in charge of scheduling events, selecting team members and keeping everyone accountable for completing projects on time.
A committee can determine the lean initiatives and select team members from the various engineering groups to implement lean on the factory floor.
With this leadership committee, there would be no more misconceptions about what to do and when to do it.
With management support, team members could dedicate 100% of their time to the event and their usual day-to-day responsibilities would be given to someone else until after the event.
Create a Kaizen Champion
You need an employee who is 100% dedicated to driving the continuous improvement efforts in the organization.
The only thing on a champion’s mind is lean. He/she can help train employees on the basic fundamentals of lean.
The champion is responsible for monitoring the changes made through the kaizen events and keeps employees aware of upcoming events.
Train Your Employees
Employees need to understand fundamental lean concepts such as Kaizen, 5S, standard work, visual management, waste reduction, takt time, etc.
As time goes on, more and more employees begin to understand the importance of lean, and As time goes on, more and more employees begin to understand the importance of lean, and a culture of change agents is created. a culture of change agents is created.
Your committee should meet once a month and schedule the events.
All events should be scheduled four weeks in advance for planning purposes.
Team members should be selected two weeks in advance to allow them to plan accordingly and so their managers can make preparation for their absence.
Vacation time can be verified to ensure team members are available for the event.
This two-week time frame allows the team members to make arrangements at home if the team is to work on an off shift.
Conduct Kaizen Events
The events are used to implement continuous improvement on the factory floor.
Holding one every month will help change the organization’s culture into one of continuous improvement.
Before anyone can go back to the old ways of working, another kaizen event is going on. Over time, new standards and procedures will be created and resisting change will become harder.
Vision and Focus
The key to implementing lean is vision and focus.
Permanent changes will not happen if a company simply “grazes” along with improvement initiatives.
A company can be staffed with best lean talent but without the infrastructure to encourage and sustain improvements, the grazing will continue.