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From the Lean Lexicon 5th Edition:

Kaizen:   Continuous improvement of an entire value stream or an individual process to create more value with less waste. There are two levels of kaizen (Rother and Shook 1999, p. 8): System or flow kaizen focusing on the overall value stream. This is kaizen for management. Process kaizen focusing on individual processes. This is kaizen for work teams and team leaders. Value-stream mapping is an excellent tool for identifying an entire value stream and determining where flow and process kaizen are appropriate. More »
Kaizen Promotion Office:   see Lean Promotion Office
Kaizen Workshop:   A group kaizen activity, commonly lasting five days, in which a team identifies and implements a significant improvement in a process. A common example is creating a continuous flow cell within a week. To do this a kaizen team—including staff experts and consultants as well as operators and line managers—analyzes, implements, tests, and standardizes a new cell. Participants first learn continuous flow principles and then go to the gemba to assess actual conditions and plan the cell. Machines then are moved and the new cell is tested. After improvements, the process is standardized and the kaizen team reports out to More »
Kaizen and Innovation
By: Ballé, Michael | June 12, 2012
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, Can kaizen stifle breakthrough innovation? More »
Kaizen Event “Malpractice” and What to Do About It
By: Chet Marchwinski and Mark Hamel | May 13, 2015
Columns
Performed properly, kaizen events create the technical and cultural foundation for daily continuous improvement. Performed improperly, they can get you nowhere fast. Learn more about the real purpose of kaizen events (and how to run effective ones) in this video interview with Chet Marchwinski and LEI faculty member Mark Hamel. More »
Kaizen Express
By: Toshiko Narusawa and John Shook | March 30, 2009
Books; Forms and Templates
Kaizen Express is a concise but precise illustrated guide to the fundamentals of the Toyota Production System (TPS) and how to implement them. It is ideal for individuals or teams starting a lean transformation or in need of a quick refresher on the fundamental concepts of lean manufacturing. More »
Kaizen is Fun? Really?
By: Ballé, Michael | September 30, 2009
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,I have been learning lean for three years now. My question to you: How is Kaizen 'fun'? Doing lean shakes people out of their comfort zone and challenges everything they believe about their work. Kaizen demands that they constantly improve what they do, and by implication, challenges how well they are working now. I find doing this on a daily basis to be extremely taxing. What advice do you have for me? Thank you for this question. I get asked this a lot in many different ways. Believe me, I sympathize with your frustration, having gone through it More »
Kaizen Learning vs. Traditional Problem-Solving
By: Art Byrne | December 10, 2015
Columns
"Lean offers a fundamentally different approach to problem-solving than most traditional companies practice," writes Art Byrne. "Most [traditional] companies delegate important problems to teams of experts that take months to create a plan and even longer to get lasting improvements.  " What would a problem-solving process look like at a lean company? Read this article and find out. More »
Kaizen Means You Care
By: Dan Markovitz | April 21, 2016
Columns
"Lean leaders, and lean consultants (like me), often talk about the organizational benefits of kaizen: lower costs, bigger profits, shorter lead times, higher quality, etc.  ," writes Dan Markovitz. But at the same time, we never want to forget that there is a human element of kaizen. In his latest piece for the Lean Post, Dan shares a touching real-life story of this oft-overlooked side of kaizen. More »
Kaizen or Rework?
By: Womack, Jim | August 22, 2007
Columns; eLetters
I recently visited a contract electronics manufacturer with a striking capacity for kaizen – the steady improvement of every step along its key value streams. Dozens of kaizen events were being performed across the company to eliminate wasted steps and to remedy quality, availability, adequacy, and flexibility problems in each value stream. At the same time, kaizen teams were trying to speed continuous flow and to perfect pull systems when flow was not possible. The managers were pleased with their work and I had to admire both their technical skills and their enthusiasm for rapid improvement involving the employees touching More »
Kaizen Power
By: Michael Ballé | January 29, 2014
Columns
In his latest piece for the Post, Michael Ballé explains why "humble 100x1% is better than 1x100% kaizen.  " This kind of kaizen impacts the bottom line of your company and can even change its strategic trajectory. More »
Kaizen vs. the Suggestion Box
October 25, 2012
Videos and Webinars
Mark Graban’s new book, Healthcare Kaizen (Productivity Press), co-authored with Joe Swartz, has lots of examples and practical advice for involving front-line staff with installing and sustaining a continuous improvement system. More »
Kaizen: the Culture of Continuous Improvement
Workshops
This workshop is an introduction to the Kaizen Teian or Kaizen methodology which promotes the sustainable continuous improvement as a daily way of life for every member within the organization. The class is based on a “hear-see-do” approach allowing you to learn through instruction, discussion, simulation, and small-group exercise. More »
Standard Work Process Study Sheet
By: Kaizen Express | December 7, 2012
Forms and Templates
The Process Study Sheet is used to define and record the time for work elements in a process. Before timing, opbserve and list the work elements required to produce one element. Then observe and define the actual time required for each individual work element. Timing Tips Collect real times at the process. Position yourself so you can see the operator's hand motions. Time each work element seperately. Time several cycles of each work element. Observe an operator who is qualified to perform the job. Always seperate operator time and machine time. Select the lowest repeatable time for each element. Remember More »
Standard Work Production Analysis Board
By: Kaizen Express | December 7, 2012
Forms and Templates
A Production Analysis Board is a display that must be located at the exit of the cell (or the line) to show actual performance compared with planned performance on an hourly basis. Kaizen Express, from which this example is taken, is a concise, precise illustrated guide to the fundamentals of the Toyota Production System and how to implement them. It is ideal for individuals or teams starting a lean transformation or in need of a quick refresher on the fundamental concepts of lean manufacturing.   Other Resources: Workshops Standardized Work: The Foundation for Kaizen » Management Standard Work » Articles More »
Standard Work Skills Training Matrix
By: Kaizen Express | December 7, 2012
Forms and Templates
The Skills Training Matrix shows the required and attained skills of every operator. The training schedule also should be shown. Kaizen Express, from which this example is taken, is a concise, precise illustrated guide to the fundamentals of the Toyota Production System and how to implement them. It is ideal for individuals or teams starting a lean transformation or in need of a quick refresher on the fundamental concepts of lean manufacturing.   Other Resources: Workshops Standardized Work: The Foundation for Kaizen » Management Standard Work » Articles Five Missing Pieces in Your Standardized Work (Part 1 of 3) » More »
Kaizen Express (Chinese/English)
By: Toshiko Narusawa and John Shook | February 20, 2012
Books
Buy this publication from: Lean Enterprise China More »
Kaizen Express (Dutch/English)
By: Narusawa, Toshiko and John Shook
Books
Buy this publication from: Lean Management Instituut Wat doe je als eerste als je lean manufacturing wilt implementeren? En wat doe je als volgende stap? Kaizen Express verklaart het implementatieproces door een bondige, heldere beschrijving van de essentiële elementen van het Toyota Productie Systeem (TPS) in een logische volgorde. Dit ‘back-to-basics’ boek biedt aan zowel nieuwe als ervaren Lean mensen een goede start aan de hand van de lean principes en implementatietechnieken die terug gaat naar de basisconcepten en zich baseert op het belang van ‘leren door doen’ op individueel en teamniveau. Oorspronkelijk ontwikkeld als een hulpmiddel voor het onderwijzen van More »
Kaizen Express (Hungarian/English)
By: Narusawa, Toshiko and John Shook | July 1, 2014
Books
A konyv konyvesboltunkban megrendelheto: Lean Enterprise Institute Hungary Hogyan fogjunk hozzá a lean gyártás megvalósításához? Mi legyen a következo, majd az azt követo lépés? Manapság már nem könnyu eligazodni a lean elvekkel kapcsolatos információk tengerében. A Kaizen Expressz egyértelmuen bemutatja a folyamatot, és pörgos, gördülékeny stílusban ismerteti a Toyota termelési rendszer (TPS) alapveto elemeit, mégpedig a megvalósítás logikus sorrendjében. Ez a tömör, de átfogó, az alapokhoz visszanyúló könyv a lean területen újoncnak és veteránnak számító olvasóknak egyaránt tartalmas bevezetést kínál a lean elvekbe és megvalósításukba. A gyökerekhez tér vissza, és hangsúlyozza a tevékenység közben, gyakorlatban tanulás fontosságát egyéni és csapatszinten More »
Kaizen Express (Portuguese/English)
By: Toshiko Narusawa and John Shook
Books
Kaizen Express (Portuguese/English) More »
'Twas the Night Before Kaizen
By: Joshua Rapoza | December 19, 2014
Columns
Merry Christmas and happy holidays from all of us at the Lean Enterprise Institute! More »
A Week of Kaizen in Just One Day
By: Andrew Quibell | March 15, 2017
Columns
"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," writes Andrew Quibell. But the reality is much simpler - find out how in the latest installment in his visual-lean series. More »
Ask Art: How Should We Staff and Run Kaizen?
By: Art Byrne | December 17, 2013
Columns
"Unless you have some lean knowledge before you launch any kaizen, your traditional ('batch' rather than 'flow') thinking will overwhelm you at every turn," writes lean leadership expert Art Byrne. So just how do run an effective kaizen? Read more. More »
Ask Art: Is There More to Becoming Lean than Conducting Kaizen Events?
By: Art Byrne | July 19, 2016
Columns
Kaizen events may be a key part of lean transformation, but they're certainly not the only aspect of it. They're just one step on the stairway to a culture of continuous improvement - but only if you build upon them. Art Byrne shares some great tips for getting the most out of your kaizen events. More »
Developing a Kaizen Consciousness with Shingo Prize winner Michael Balle
By: Dager, Joseph | November 10, 2009
Articles; Videos and Webinars
Michael Ballé, co-author of The Lean Manager, published by the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), cautioned in a podcast interview with Business 901 that managers or executives without strong commitments to self-development should not try lean manufacturing and lean management. "Lean is something you want to do to beat competitors, and it’s going to take extra work, especially at first," Ballé said. "Lean is targeted to a certain kind of person who enjoys learning and is committed to self-development as opposed to just running things as they are.  ” The Lean Manager is a business novel about a lean transformation where managers at a More »
Everyday Kaizen
By: Emmanuel Jallas | January 29, 2015
Columns
"With the right teaching and guidance, a good process, and a target of one kaizen activity per day, team leaders should develop [problem solving] skills fast," writes Emmanuel Jallas. Team leaders then encourage these same problem skills in operators, Jallas says, which creates a culture of steady, everyday improvement that can make a big difference for your business. More »
Example A3: TWI Industries - Kaizen Plan (from Managing to Learn)
October 8, 2006
A3s
An example of an A3, included as a sample in some printings of Managing to Learn. More »
Forward to Fundamentals Redux – Kaizen Express
By: Shook, John | May 5, 2009
A3s; Columns; eLetters
Thanks to those of you who joined last week’s webinar. We had some great questions, only a few of which we dealt with during the limited webinar time. One specific request I’ve received is that I spend more time introducing the new LEI book Kaizen Express. If Kaizen Express is intended as an aid in the “forward to fundamentals” movement, just what kinds of things does it hold in store? Fundamentals ReduxKaizen Express is retro. I described it last week as “a throwback to an earlier era of lean discovery.  ” It has short chapters, each introducing a major lean More »
From Chaos to Kaizen: The Visual Way
By: Andrew Quibell | December 20, 2016
Columns
In another of his visual depictions of the fundamentals of lean, Andrew Quibell illustrates the process of transforming a chaos-plagued organization into one of continuous improvement. More »
GTS6 + E3 = DNA (Break the Code for Standardization, Sustainability, and Kaizen)
By: Tracey Richardson | November 21, 2014
Columns
There's no "formula" for doing Lean well, but there are principles and practices that keep you on track. Read Tracey Richardson's (memorable) advice for leading effectively at work. More »
How do I introduce kaizen to IT?
By: Ballé, Michael | March 14, 2016
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  Based on your experience, what is the best strategy to introduce kaizen as social, ongoing events without start and end dates in a service industry, specifically IT services? More »
How to Know If Your Team is Ready for Kaizen
By: Lesa Nichols | September 16, 2015
Columns
"Do we even know what the Kaizen aim of “engaged employees” means, beyond the clichés?" asks lean coach Lesa Nichols. Read Lesa's tips for getting a read on your team and then genuinely involving all team members in meaningful work. More »
Interview with Isao Kato on TWI and Kaizen
By: Smalley, Art | March 27, 2009
Articles
LEI author and faculty member Art Smalley interviewed former Toyota manager Isao Kato about the influences of that the U.  S.  Training Within Industry program had on the development of the Toyota Production System and kaizen. More »
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