Last issue we looked at creating the "visual factory". As we continue to work our way down through the lean tools, in this issue we will look at Kaizen and Kaikaku.
||Value stream mapping
||Kaizen and Kaikaku
||Quick change over (SMED)
||Monuments & remedies
||Lean performance measurements
Kaizen really refers to slow and continual improvement. That is to say planned and incremental gains. However, in Western Companies, Kaizen has come to mean something quite different. The application of Kaizen teams generally means rapid completion of planned projects. In the original Japanese, this would be Kaikaku.
A Kaizen team is organized to complete a planned project in a specified amount of time. When conducting lean activities, it is frequently necessary to remedy a monument or greatly accelerate a setup. These "mission critical" activities are frequently turned over to a Kaizen team.
Kaizen teams usually are comprised of four to six members and complete the task in no more than five days. The team members are temporarily relieved of all normal duties and work full-time on the assignment.
Study the "as is condition". This can include various types of process maps and in-depth analysis of the situation.
Begin publishing the Kaizen Newspaper. This is a rolling chronicle of findings, activities, plans, and who is doing what. The Kaizen Newspaper will be revised and posted daily. This provides communication to everybody in the company regarding progress and initiatives. This frequently will solicit ideas from others in the organization. Day two will also include planning what actions will be taken.
Begin active manipulation for improvement.
Continue improvement actions.
Validate results and deliver the final report.
The Kaizen team will deliver rapid accomplishments, provided they are supplied the necessary support and resources. This must be part of the "upfront planning". It is important to consider the cost of employing a Kaizen team. This method must be limited to truly "mission critical" initiatives that demand a rapid solution.
Next issue we will continue examining the tools for lean.