Kaizen Event – A Structured Process for Continuous Improvement

Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Continuous Improvement, Lean, Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

Kaizen literally means “small, continuous improvements.”  A kaizen event is a planned and structured process for improvement that enables a team to improve some aspect of their business in a quick, focused manner.  The kaizen event is structured using the PDCA cycle and typically lasts five days or less.
Kaizen is the way you improve your value stream, eliminating waste and making it more efficient.  It is not a one time event, but is practiced through a continuing series of workshops and projects.
A typical event agenda is:
  • Kick-off
  • Just-in-time training
  • Process walk
  • Identify waste and other process issues
  • Simulate potential solutions
  • Select the solutions
  • Implement the solutions

Characteristics of a successful kaizen event are:
  • Thoroughness.  Make sure you do your homework and preparation up front, and consider all the variables, people, and interactions prior to kicking off the event.
  • Training.  Participants must have knowledge of the Lean tools and techniques in order to make successful improvements.
  • Change management.  Your ability to lead and motivate people and keep them on track is critical in determining your success.
  • Participative management.  Get everyone involved in the solution will aid in making the event successful.

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