Kaizen 2017: Starting Continuous Improvement

kaizen 2017

The start of a new year is a great time to begin improvement. But not just any kind of improvement, continuous improvement. Improvement should be constant, not just an event. Kaizen is translated as “change good”. This embodies the process of small changes making a big impact over time. The tips below will get Kaizen 2017 off to a great start.

Involve Everyone

For any kind of sustainable change to be possible, everyone at the organization must be on board.  Kaizen methodology involves cross-functional teams. Teams of people from different areas of the organization are tasked with identifying problems, formulating a solution, and presenting to upper management and/or safety and quality committees.

Kaizen 2017 Teams

Diverse Kaizen teams perform exceptionally better than traditional departmental groups. Much of this is due to the variety of viewpoints that are expressed in diverse teams. In traditional teams, office personnel tend to enact shop floor changes without input from the people the change effects most. A team of only shop floor workers may miss considerations such as budget or effects on long-term plans.

Planning & Scheduling

Kaizen teams are tasked with a problem, either specific or broad, to solve together. A typical Kaizen event involves a week of team activity. The team will need access to the shop floor while people are working and to a distraction-free work zone (commonly a meeting or conference room). Most teams will need a computer and printer to calculate costs, research, and make final presentations.

Kaizen Projects

Those new to Kaizen may suffer from a lack of ideas for a team to work on. One of the easiest projects is 5S organization. Almost any shop floor can improve by making sure that all equipment has a set place and keeps work spaces clutter free. When creating a Kaizen team to solve a 5S project, make sure that at least one team member works in the areas to be changed.