We have seen in different posts what Kaizen is and the importance of this methodology in today’s manufacturing companies. This technique is not only helping organizations to be more effective and disciplined, but also more productive and standardized. Thanks to this Japanese thinking, businesses from every industrial sector and nationalities, are being more competitive, giving to their customers better products and services.
As we all know, Kaizen means continuous improvement and is a Japanese methodology focused on the processes quality increasing, so manufacturing organizations can be more productive and competitive. However, the implementation of this technique has specific procedures and actions for a successful development in the companies. In addition, all these stages involve every part and every employee of the organization for an effective application.
To understand the different stages for applying Kaizen, we must know what this methodology is and how it works so we will define it in a few words.
What is Kaizen?
We mentioned that the word Kaizen means continuous improvement and has its origins in Japan, however, this methodology is being used in multiple organizations around the world. Under this technique, every manufacturing business works for adopting different actions in every process so they can be more productive. In other words, implementing Kaizen lets companies have better processes and methods for manufacturing their products, reaching a higher quality and value.
It is important to know, that under Kaizen methodology, organizations eliminate waste and unnecessary actions within their manufacturing processes, making them simpler, cheaper and effective. Put differently, Kaizen not only means continuous improvement in company’s’ procedures but also lets businesses to simplify how they work, decreasing production costs and increasing their quality and benefits for their customers.
With this short explanation about Kaizen and what it means, we can talk about some actions and stages for its implementation in manufacturing organizations. These phases, let organizations adapt their processes to a continuous upgrading, reaching notable production times and involving all their employees and workers, so they can be part of these changes, contributing to their knowledge.
In this stage, companies must select the correct people to be the mentors and train them, because they are in charge of selecting the team members and tutors for Kaizen implementation. In other words, the training phase is vital, because here is where companies find the leaders and organizers for a successful application of the Kaizen thinking in the company’s processes.
Once the mentors are designated, then the organization can choice what process or processes will be worked and adapted under the Kaizen philosophy. Put differently, once the company has selected the people for leading the Kaizen strategy and the right workers to do it, then the business procedures to be reformed could be defined as well.
Having clear who the leaders will be and the processes to be adopted, then it is time to select the teams that will guide the rest of the organization for applying the Kaizen thinking. These groups must have in their formation people from different areas in the company, to have a major and complete vision about the processes to be reformed. It is important to highlight that every member of the team must be committed to the project and must understand what the Kaizen approach is and its benefits.
With the business processes selected for adapting the Kaizen philosophy, the leaders of the project must find and determine which parts of this processes are the most susceptible for improving. In other words, the people leading the Kaizen implementation must establish which procedures stages are most needed for improvement than others.
Indicators and metrics
For knowing if the processes improvement is working, those people involved in the project must define the indicators and data elements for analyzing the status of the implementation. If the organization does not have the correct indicators, then will not be possible to know if the Kaizen approach is improving or not the different business procedures.
Once the metrics and indicators are defined, then there must be a correct analysis of them. In other words, having clear which are the tools and elements for the measurement of the implementation, the mentors, team members and people involved in the project, can collect the necessary data to study it and take the correct decisions.
In this stage, the company can start to improve the process or processes previously defined. Here, is where the Kaizen approach takes form and reflected in the actions taken for its implementation. Put differently, in this phase is where all the data is collected to be adopted by the different processes.
Here is where the Kaizen philosophy is implemented. In this last stage, is when the organization works under this thinking, making the needed changes and adaptations for the constant improvement that Kaizen promotes.
Related: 8 Most Common Mistakes in Kaizen Implementation by David Kiger
* Featured Image courtesy of TheLeadSA at Flickr.com