Kaizen event: 7 important tips for more efficient manufacturing

Improving efficiency with a Kaizen event requires specific planning, a cross-functional team, operator involvement, and four other important attributes.


Improving efficiency with a Kaizen event requires specific planning, a cross-functional team, operator involvement, and four other important attributes.

1: Pre-plan your event

To most this step would seem obvious, but many people fail to remember that the most basic things can throw your event into a tailspin. To ensure that does not happen, develop the scope of the event with objectives, deliverables, and metrics; these are what will help determine if the event is successful. Make sure you have selected a team and booked the space where the event is going to take place. Having all the supplies pre-planned for the event, such as flip charts, Post-it notes, tape, and paint, will ensure that the most basic frustrations are eliminated.

2: Form a cross-functional team

A cross-functional team should consist of employees from the process/work area where the event will be held, as well as people from other areas of the office. Even though some team members may know little to nothing about the area, they can bring a fresh set of eyes and perspective to the table and allow for new ideas to develop. By having a cross-functional team, people who have never been in a Kaizen event can familiarize themselves with the concept.

 3: Involve people in the area

Involve operators and people in the area by notifying them that there will be an event in their designated area. The most basic communication can help prevent confusion. Also, post a flip chart in the area for employees to post ideas before an event takes place. Keep employees informed during events and follow up with operators for evaluation.

4: The 20/80 rule

During an event, 20% of your time should be spent in the classroom and 80% should be on the floor planning, designing, and doing—unless you are in a Vision event, which could require more classroom time.

5: Avoid scope creep

Stay focused on the event. Do not let bigger issues curtail you. Remember the task at hand. Homework from the event should be minimal.

6: Use PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act/Adjust)

Do this every day of your event.

  • P = Plan what you are going to do today.
  • D = What did we do today?
  • C = What are the results?
  • A = What are we going to do tomorrow? Adjust accordingly.

7: Follow up

Follow up for 30 days after the event. Did everyone follow through? Is everyone satisfied with the results? Is all of the homework complete?

Rick Reed is director of quality and continuous improvement at Wika Instrument CorporationRick Reed is director of quality and continuous improvement at Wika Instrument Corporation, which recently had its 300th Kaizen event; see http://bit.ly/ghSbj9. www.wika.us

About Rick Reed: Rick Reed joined Wika Instrument Corporation in July 2008 as the Director of Continuous Improvement & Quality. As Director, Reed—a certified Lean Master, Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Master Trainer and Shainin Red X Journeyman—manages the implementation of the Toyota Production System using Kaizen methodology across the value stream.  Reed’s strategic initiatives for the continuous improvement of Wika ’s goals are to launch Six Sigma and project management at Wika, manage daily improvements, lower customer complaints and increase customer response time. Reed also wants to emphasize that continuous improvement involves everyone to accomplish these directives. Once these pivotal initiatives are met, customers will receive products and information in a timelier manner, increasing their confidence in Wika’s ability to meet customer demand and create customer satisfaction.





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