Kaizen Events are held by team leaders and employees who have an interest in improving their work environment to increase efficiency and productivity. They meet on a regular schedule, usually once a week, for periods of time ranging from 45 minutes to 3 hours. The meetings typically involve identifying opportunities for improvement in the workplace. This could be as simple as rearranging furniture or trying new software programs. This collaboration can include anything that will help the company operate more smoothly.
To some, these events are common sense. Take a look around any manufacturing area, and you’ll find that small changes to procedure and current process can lead to major improvements in efficiency and quality ( aka Lean Manufacturing). Often, these changes are called kaizen events, because they help to improve the company’s performance, customer satisfaction as well as the performance of its entire organization.
Successfully implemented, a good kaizen event can make major improvements. Typical events generate 20% to 100% improvements in areas such as efficiency, quality and delivery performance. (leanmanufacturingtools.org)
What Should You Do Before Your Kaizen Event Begins?
Whether it is a meeting or a full-day event, you should prepare before things kick off. This will help you be more productive and efficient at the event. Speaking with your team members before the event is essential for understanding their challenges and goals. Knowing their needs will help you come up with solutions that are tailored to their needs. It’s also important to set strategic goals for the day. You don’t want to waste time having discussions if you don’t have any objectives lined up beforehand! Finally, be sure that everyone knows what they are going to be doing during the event. This includes setting up the agenda.
How Should You Structure Your Kaizen Event To Achieve The Best Improvements?
By identifying the areas you want to improve, you can come up with a strategy to make these changes happen. However, there is no one right way for every situation. It all depends on what you’re trying to achieve and the circumstances of your business. That’s why it’s important that you consider your company’s needs (lean tools) when designing the event before it begins.
In this blog post, we’ll show you some questions to ask yourself before launching your continuous improvement efforts and how to answer them in order to get the best results possible.
What are the 3 stages of a typical kaizen event?
Kaizen events are often used in lean manufacturing, they can also be applied to other aspects of life. Here, are the three stages of a typical event:
1) Planning (strategic goals)
2) Execution (quality management)
3) Assessment and Improvement (levels of performance)
1. Area Selection
Select a bounded, on-going activity as the subject of the event. Concentrate on areas of particular significance to the company’s production or quality efforts and where you suspect significant opportunities for improvement exist.
If this is your first Kaizen Event, be sure that the area you select is stable (minimum number of new operators, machines, processes, and/or materials) and has the adequate human resources (numbers and experience) needed to absorb significant changes.
The first event will serve as the model and inspiration for the events to follow. Choosing an area where the personnel lack experience, are unfamiliar with the processes, are stretched thin, or are under a great deal of stress will get you off to a poor start and should be avoided.
2. Identify Performance Issues
First, define what tasks the area does of importance to the company. Second, evaluate the area’s performance (how well it carries out those tasks). Then ask yourself, “Are there specific deficiencies with the area’s performance, or are we simply seeking enhanced performance levels?”
Set the Goals
Increase unit throughput by approximately 25% without lowering quality levels or substantial negative impact on cost. Decrease the material scrap rate to 10% without impacting product quality or increasing unit labor cost.
How Do You Run A Successful Kaizen Event?
These are the six steps a team leader needs to run a successful event.
1) Create a Plan: Before planning an event, it’s important to create a detailed agenda. It should cover all aspects of the event including topics, speakers, activities, etc.
2) Set the participants’ goals before the event: The first step in creating a plan for an event is deciding how much time you want to devote to this activity for continuous improvement. If you’re looking at ways to impact costs, then you may only need 30 minutes per person.
3) Tell them what they’ll be doing: Kaizens are not necessarily focused on daily improvements or specific problems; they may just want to learn about something new. Kaizens do not always focus on cost savings but rather on increasing efficiencies and productivity
4) Provide feedback after each event: focus on specific areas such as:
- Communication between departments (cross-functional collaboration)
- Improving workflow processes (continuous process improvement)
- Reducing paperwork
- Increasing employee morale level
- Implementing new technology
5) Follow-up: with teach-ins to share what they’ve learned from the process
6) Close: with organization meeting or retrospective discussion
How Do You Know If Your Kaizen Event Was Successful?
There are some key indicators to look out for and signs of a failed kaizen event. A major goal of kaizen events should be for the company to become more efficient and productive. Was this the case? Did the team take ownership over their work? It’s important to ask these questions and consider them when evaluating your event’s success. Here are some ways, based on science, that you can tell if your kaizen event was successful:
To know if your kaizen event was successful, you need to evaluate it based on these three factors:
1) The participants
2) The goals
3) The actions taken after the event (follow-up plan)
Kaizen events are a great way to find out what your team needs to do to make a process or system more efficient and effective—and when you run one, you should take notes on what happened. For example, how did the team get along during the event? What skills did team members need to improve? What did the team decide to do differently the next time they work together?
While Kaizen is primarily associated with manufacturing, it is practiced across all functions of a business and has been adopted by other industries such as healthcare, finance, psychotherapy, life-coaching, government, and banking. (en.wikipedia.org)