What is a Kaizen Event?
A Kaizen event is a planned process focused on the improvement of a specific part within the business. The term Kaizen is a Japanese word that can be translated to change for the better or continuous improvement. This method is used primarily for process improvement and increased productivity by taking small steps that lead to major results! Kaizen events are most often used as a part of an overall lean manufacturing strategy.
What is a Kaizen event?
Each Kaizen event at YL brings a variety of team members together to focus on addressing one barrier in a defined time period. During kaizen events, the group brainstorms solutions to remove the barrier and then sets goals for what they want to accomplish before the end of the event!
The process of Kaizen events may change depending on the business, however they all have a common goal of planning and implementing. Within our company, the event starts with process mapping or a flow chart to determine the current process. From there, team members evaluate and analyze what may need improved within the process.
Throughout the event, there are touchpoints with leadership through a report outs to ensure the group is on the right track, provide feedback and guidance, and that the team is set to accomplish their pre-determined goals within the time frame.
Why are Kaizen events valuable?
Most changes in businesses can take entirely too long to plan, and even longer to be approved. Kaizen events are an extremely effective way to overcome the problems by addressing every step of the corrective action in a short time period. This fast-acting change be a great boost to morale and allow the business to quickly see the results of these changes.
Kaizen events also have a heavy focus on teamwork by allowing different positions throughout the company that may not interact on a regular basis to communicate effectively. More experienced team members can share their knowledge and insight on how certain techniques and tools used during the event can be leveraged by the entire team on a day-to-day basis. This also allows for a greater level of understanding throughout all ranks within the business, not just the team members who these changes will be directly affecting.
All improvements implemented during these Kaizen events are sustained and revisited by our Cross Functional Teams. It is important to ensure that any new processes implemented are not viewed as completed, as there is always room for improvement.
All changes or improvements should be clearly documented and communicated company-wide, and relevant progress and results should be visualized, as you can see in the photo below. Once implementation of these improved processes begins, it is very important to ask team members who were not a part of the Kaizen for their input. Their honest opinion and answer to the question “How can we further improve upon this?” is the best way to ensure continuous improvement.
To learn more about this practice, reach out today!