Kaizen, this technique of continuous improvement, can be applied by implementing a series of changes in sequence. In the steps of that sequence, you can analyze critical variables in the production process, so that you can find ways to improve each aspect of your supply chain, from the seemingly most fundamental to the smallest. All thanks to the application of the basic principles of Kaizen: Achieving better quality and reducing costs thanks to simple daily modifications.
Before beginning to implement the Kaizen methodology, you must take into account the substantial objectives. First of all, achieve improvement in any area or department of your business, no matter how small it seems (in terms of Kaizen, nothing is small as long as it is useful.) Second, it is a priority to remove waste, that is, everything you do not need for the proper functioning of your organization. Third, it is imperative to reduce all possible costs, or even getting rid of them (and for this, it is important that you know how to discern between a necessary cost and one that is not.) Finally, the improvements must be continuous, and this means that they never end. They are never enough.
Any Kaizen implementation process will require a constant cycle that begins with planning, continues with the implementation of the decisions you made, it keeps going with the verification of the achieved results and ends with action.
Planning means, first and foremost, setting a goal and pointing out what steps are needed for your team to reach them. Putting these plans into action is the go-go-go, getting your hands dirty. Verifying is comparing the results of the two previous processes. Acting, the last phase of the Kaizen method, has to do with deciding if you need another modification once you have the results of the previous phase. Normally, this is always the case, for nothing is ever perfect or complete. Everything can be optimized (and that’s wonderful.)
Read also: How To Avoid Your Kaizen Implementation From Going Wrong, by David Kiger
This dynamic must be repeated over and over again to obtain a business culture of continuous improvement. Most of the learning you get from your experiences come from evaluating the actions taken after planning. In order to optimize its future performance, there is a simple technique known as W3, whose objective is that the individuals learn all the pertinent lessons to avoid the repetition of errors. It sounds simple, you will see, but it takes a lot of perseverance and patience.
At the end of the implementation of a new procedure, the following approaches should be questioned and the answers to each of them should be written for further analysis.
What went well? It is vital to know which of your actions were successful. It does not matter that they did not come out as planned since their true value lies in the result itself. As long as the organization benefits from the performed tasks, they will be positive. As soon as you locate the triumphs of the team, recognize the effort of those who made part of them. Now, what did not happen so well? You will never be able to control all processes because they do not depend entirely on you. If any activity had to be repeated several times or if any of the paths initially defined was not effective, it can be considered as an area of opportunity that should be addressed as soon as possible in the corresponding area.
On the other hand, what will you do differently the next time? The answers to this question are the source of continuous improvement. As soon as you notice your successes and failures, you can establish which tasks should remain and which ones should be transformed. What you have done, in some cases, will be impossible to undo, but it can determine its course of action in later situations.
After reflecting on the above, you will have the necessary notions to build an organizational dynamic of continuous improvement applicable to your administrative practices, such as work meetings, communication processes, and training sessions.
Taking your company to a point of stability is the result of the commitment and endurance of your entire team. Once this level is reached, processes should not only be maintained but also optimized every time.
Before each problem you encounter, gather your work team and evaluate the situation. Determine what the potential causes of the problem are, for there you must focus all your energies, and then find the necessary solutions. These improvement processes should be standardized: This is knowledge and experience, and it prevents the same potential causes of problems from arising again. No matter how unique and different your company may look, actually, it is always possible to implement this methodology to optimize it in ways impossible to visualize in the past.
Never stay still. It is important that you always establish future action plans. That’s Kaizen: The best thing that can happen to your business and your life.
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