5 tips to keep your Kaizen strong after some years.

As we have said before, Kaizen is one of our preferred methods for improvement as it allows us to be focused in improving not only the processes in a company but also ourselves as persons.  Kaizen is a term that means Improvement in Japanese, is and ideology and system developed in Japan that strives for improvement in all aspects of a company, involving everyone in it as well as trying to minimize waste, if you have some doubts about Kaizen you should check this website that will help you understand it better.

If you have implemented Kaizen, you might have noted that after a long time of using it, it might have started to go weaker especially after a couple of years have passed. This probably happened due to the attention given to the process being reduced or due to not applying some of the strategies linked to Kaizen. Today we want to discuss some helpful tips to keep your Kaizen process strong after some years and to have the full benefits of it.

1.  Make sure to have someone leading the process

It is really important to have someone leading the improvement, this leader or group of people should be constantly analyzing and helping to push forward the Kaizen operation. Sometimes Kaizen might get stuck and this is the moment when these leaders should act, making the necessary modification to keep it going strong. These leaders should be ready to push Kaizen when it is necessary, so it never stops, and this means they need to have knowledge of how Kaizen works and they need to be optimistic and enthused about Kaizen. Having the proper leaders will make sure the process advance properly, making sure it doesn’t lose its momentum.

2. Ask other people for new ideas

It is really important for ideas to constantly be discussed, some of these ideas might pop in the minds of someone but due to lack of communication it might get lost. It is really important to keep asking the team and the people involved in the Kaizen process their ideas and this can actually create a train of thought that will help the team have fresh ideas most of the time. When evaluating your process you should take this into account by asking the team about when was the last time this occurred.

3. Do not stick to a specific procedure

In Kaizen it is really important to keep everything fresh and updated, some ideas might have seen useful or bright before but it is important to be able to reevaluate them. Just like some martial arts, Kaizen is something to learn from others but when you reach certain level of mastery you become able to modify and use this knowledge in different ways. This gives Kaizen the ability to evolve to different times, if you stay with the same kind of Kaizen for a long time it is possible that many things that applied when it was first implemented might not work correctly now and will probably need some tweaking.

4. Record and analyze the process

It is really important to measure and analyze how the process is going. Measuring will allow to have a clear idea of how the process is working and what flaws the process might have, this will make it easier to tackle this specific aspects of the Kaizen process. Also, if the measurements are positive, it will also show how close the company is to the desired level of quality and this will encourage everyone involved in the process. Doing this will also show exactly what we are trying to avoid, the process getting stuck, keeping this measurement will show when the process might start waning or starts getting weaker and will help the team plan a way of restoring the strength to the project.

5. Take into account the opinion of the customer

Most customers will be happy to help improving the manufacturing and supplying process, having the useful feedback and help of them will help the Kaizen process fresh and focused as well as strengthening the relationship between both sides. Knowing exactly what the customer expects from you will also help you by making the targets clearer and will tell you whether you should keep or change the focus of the Kaizen process.

Kaizen_Logo_david kiger
Image courtesy of kiran Valipa Venkat at Flickr.com

A Kaizen process can really help your company, so it is important that you keep it alive and you don’t let it lose its momentum, by following these tips you will make sure to receive the whole benefits of Kaizen even after years of using it. Remember if you want to read more similar content by David Kiger you should check other articles in this blog, we have a lot of related content on topics like Kaizen and Lean manufacturing. We personally recommend this article on how Kaizen and Six Sigma can work together.

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