Fast Operating Improvements with Kaizen
Kaizen events are intense, focused efforts to improve a process quickly by eliminating waste wherever possible. Kaizen events are about achieving several smaller, incremental changes that, over time, yield larger cumulative results. This is why Kaizen events focus on just one small area at a time.
Benefits of Applying Kaizen and Lean Thinking
Kaizen concepts can yield large, cumulative results over time. Some benefits we see regularly include:
- Lead Time reduction of 50% or more
- Productivity/Capacity increase of 25% or more
- Inventory reduction by as much as 50%
- Quality improvements of as much as 25%
- Space Utilization improvements by as much as 50%
Kaizen events are most successful when led by a facilitator and conducted by cross-functional teams. Our Lean consultants have helped companies across the state achieve real, measurable changes through Kaizen events.
What Does “Kaizen” Mean?
Kaizen (ky`zen) n.,
1. The relentless quest for a better way, the daily pursuit of perfection;
the reaching, stretching to outdo yesterday.
2. Continuous improvement
Kaizen can take many forms:
Point kaizen (improvement at the task level)
Kaizen events (improvement at the process level)
Basic Rules for Kaizen Events
There are 10 basic rules for practicing Gemba Kaizen (gemba: the real place, where action occurs)
- Discard conventional ideas
- Think of how to do it (not why it cannot be done)
- Do not make excuses; question current practices
- Do not seek perfection, just do it now
- Correct mistakes immediately
- Spend wisdom, not money for Kaizen
- Wisdom emerges in adversity
- Seek root cause, ask ‘Why?’ 5 times
- Seek wisdom of 10 rather than knowledge of 1
- Kaizen ideas are infinite
Basic Kaizen Concepts
Kaizen events help to build a learning enterprise involving both management and workforce. Kaizen results in focused problem solving that ensures business stability and growth. Kaizen works best when a plan-do check-act cycle is used and there is a focus on cost/quality/delivery. Performed regularly, Kaizen events help companies maintain quality, and get to know their internal and external customers better. One of the helpful elements of Kaizen events is that it teaches the team to “speak with data,” so that measurable improvements can be obtained and tracked.
How to Prepare for Kaizen Events
Using the right process for Kaizen events will help to ensure their effectiveness. First, a team charter is developed and team members are selected. A readiness checklist is important to complete, which is included in our Kaizen kit. A customized workshop is designed complete with training plan and a thorough workshop checklist. It is also important to develop a communication plan for all impacted parties (management, staff, team members, and support areas) that informs them of their role and the need for their support.
“CONNSTEP solved a huge problem for us and helped us bring our delivery rate to 100%. As a direct result of that, we have been awarded with an increase in business which, ultimately, will also benefit (our supplier) Har-Conn.”
“I see great value in the new experiences and perspectives CONNSTEP brings to our business, at reasonable prices. They’re not like consultants, they’re like partners in the business – willing to roll up their sleeves and help.”
“CONNSTEP has proved to be a tremendous resource for ESI. CONNSTEP has helped us to adapt to today’s marketplace and remain a quality minded, competitive global player. Our ISO/TS16949 implementation process was efficient and rewarding. I look forward to our future projects with CONNSTEP.”
“CONNSTEP worked with FuelCell Energy to educate and facilitate Lean initiatives and to help meet our needs to establish an overall production improvement plan. This plan has been utilized over a period of time as a ‘guiding light’ to spur numerous improvements that dramatically reduced our product cost.”
“CONNSTEP is a valuable partner to Hologic, providing the expertise and ‘outside eyes’ everyone needs to keep their continuous improvement on track. We are now well-positioned on a dynamic growth path and look forward to a long-term relationship with CONNSTEP.”
“Our experience working with CONNSTEP has brought us benefits we never expected. It’s a great team to work with!”
“The goals of the team were to reduce manufacturing lead-time, reduce floor space utilized, and increase worker productivity. All the goals were met. CONNSTEP helped us to better compete.”
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