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A Week of Kaizen in Just One Day

by Andrew Quibell
March 15, 2017

A Week of Kaizen in Just One Day

by Andrew Quibell
March 15, 2017 | Comments (3)

Often when I hear people talk about kaizen, they are under the impression that this is some huge event with dozens of people fixing loads of things over a week. Yes, those sorts of events do happen (Toyota calls them jishuken), but for me the world of kaizen has always been about fixing the little things that hinder production – things that steal seconds, minutes and hours of production time over a long period – and fixing the problems that create burden, inconsistency and strain for the team member doing the job.

For me, the secret to kaizen is making incremental improvements stacked up to a big gain over time. That’s why I am a big believer in doing the “limited scope” one-day kaizen activity within an 8-hour shift window.

The purpose here is to save seconds and minutes in production and reduce the potential for burden, inconsistency and strain. This has worked and is often allowed by operational management as you are not putting them out of action for days  only hours, or a shift; maybe two at a push.

This, as I depict in my sketches and the animation, does work if executed properly, and provided that you don’t bite off more than you can handle. Agree with the stakeholders on a very specific scope of work – you do this, no more, no less, and you will leave the area and equipment in a better state that it was before.

I can’t stress enough that preparation is key to success – doing this on the fly will fail and you will backslide. And by extension, backsliding will also undermine the value of kaizen in your people’s eyes. Don’t rubbish your reputation and that of our lean principles by not doing your homework and planning for success. I know this is more easily said, but I have lived all I am talking about, learning from my mistakes, and I am passing on my experiences so you don’t have to endure the pains….only gains. 

Are you going to give it a try? Learning by doing is the only training.

  

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The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The Lean Enterprise Institute.
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3 Comments | Post a Comment
jo jo March 27, 2017

Problem solving is not about track or racing time. A true Kaizen, PDCA, or Small Group activity, using the 8-step process, is based from the foundation of fully identifying the problem(s) to solve, accurately identifying the situation, establishing your targets, and then the most important feature; your analysis brain storming and countermeasures... A race against time to complete a project is counterproductive, as I have stated across the decades. Every so call Lean and process expert read all the books, went to the countless number of siminars and labs, know the lingo, and can babble with the best. Ask how many projects they've participated and/ lead you get maybe three. Ask how many they were task to do under great pressure and super high visibility you would get none or maybe a trumped up one. I have completed hundreds if thousands of problem PDCAs over 37 years in the trenches. In problem solving that involves people, processes, and a mix of departmental functions you are like an assembly line without a conveyor or pull system. You solve all problems subsets in a sequential and systematic fashion as a team or individuals of a team; bringing the answers together. This notion of 'Speed is Best', simply is not true. Speed with Quality with Knowledge with Accuracy of resolution is best and all 4 will govern each as to what that  speed will be. I have seen countless number of times a resolution presented with high speed and quickness, fail miserably. Why? The participants lacked a full knowledge and understanding of the problem(s). The quality of their resolutions was unreliable and they missed the mark on key task. Yes they achieved the mighty speed results but created very disappointed customers.



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Nelson March 29, 2017

I find this series of drawing to be hard to read, frankly. Can you please post the images in a size where we can click and zoom in?



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Nelson March 29, 2017

"I am passing on my experiences so you don’t have to endure the pains….only gains"

That sounds good, but people learn through pain and mistakes. Learning from others is great, but I don't think the goal should be avoding all pain and all mistakes.



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