A kaizen can be used for any or all of these reasons:
- To reduce mura, muda, muri
- To improve on your KPI'S
- To reach goals in your strategy
- To grow happier and more capable employees and reduce their daily struggle
A kaizen needs to be short in lead time and involve all teams impacted by the improvement.
What is a kaizen?
The kaizen consists of a couple of steps:
- Define: Determine what the problem is you want to solve. You need to look at who the customer is, what process it involves and what goals and surrounding processes are impacted by the problem as well. You need to involve you stakeholders here. This is where you start working on your A3.
- Measure: You start looking for data both qualitative and quantitative. You need to go and see at the gemba. You will want to define the start, inputs, steps, outputs and customers of your process. You put together a measuring plan to measure the baseline performance and test the system.
- Analyze: You now use the data and your problem statement to start analyzing root causes. You look for gaps between the desired and the current state, for things that produce struggle for employees and customers and you prioritize root causes and their impact on your goals, customers and employees.
- Improve: The first three steps need to have a clear focus on problem analysis. This is the point where we switch to improvements. First you need to work to generate improvement ideas, for instance with a brainstorm. There many brainstorm techniques. Choose a technique that suits your group and your purpose. You will probably have a wealth of ideas afterwards. So next up is to prioritize the ideas and to start implementing them.
- Control: The last step consists of two important parts. First is to measure whether improvement has occured. Second is to keep tracking the effects of your improvement, keep improving and adjusting your new standard as needed. If you haven't done so already you need to check with the value stream partners for unwanted side effects of your improvement.