Monday 26 November 2018

Kaizen Events: Changes to Improvement

A Kaizen events as a mini improvement project that will improve the process in a relatively short time.

Kaizen is one of the concepts to operational excellence, which means "improvement" or "change to a better direction.

Kaizen Practice

The Kaizen is a practice focus on continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, development, and business management. This method has been apply in many sectors, such as healthcare, psychotherapy, coaching, government, banking, manufacturing, mining, and many other industries.

In its application, Kaizen is more 'on-site', and is use in intense short term projects with the aim of improvising processes, especially those that require fast results.

When implement into daily work activities, Kaizen leads to activities that continually improve functionality, and involves all HR components, from CEOs to front-line workers and assembly lines. This method is also apply to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, to the supply chain. As one method in line with Lean, Kaizen emphasizes the standardization of processes aimed at eliminating waste or waste in the process.

When is Kaizen Events Applied?

In the process that runs in the concept of Lean Six Sigma, all personnel involve in the process must stop the process immediately if they see any indication of an abnormal process. Then they have to find a solution to overcome the abnormality, and this is where Kaizen can play a role.

Kaizen is done by a phase call the PDCA cycle (Plan cycle, Do, Check, Act).

The Kaizen cycle plays a role in:

  • Standardization of operational activities.

  • Measures standardized activity (finding cycle-time and inventory amount in process).

  • Estimates measurement standards base on need.

  • Innovating in meeting needs and increasing productivity.

  • Standardization of new and improve operational processes.

PDCA Cycle

The PDCA cycle is also known as the Shewhart cycle or Deming cycle. Other tools that can be use in conjunction with the PDCA are 5 Whys (root cause analysis), and can be visualize using tables or fishbone diagrams.

This process works in varied situations and problems. Kaizen events are usually plan using value stream mapping to target improvements that need to be improvise. Here are some examples of situations where Kaizen can be apply:

  • Decrease in changeover time on machine or process. By using kaizen, the team can fix the changeover time on the machine using the SMED system.

  • Organize work area using 5R system.

  • Creating a one-piece-flow work system.

  • Develop a pull system.

  • Improve machine and equipment reliability by using TPM (Total Productive Maintenance).

  • Develop product design that can be manufactured (manufacturable).

  • Improve product development process.

  • Improve the effectiveness of administrative processes such as order processing, procurement, engineering change process and so forth.

To run kaizen events effectively, it is important to understand the type of problem and to analyze whether kaizen can be use or not. With good planning, kaizen events can bring the company to continuous improvement.

Can Kaizen be run effectively?

Various studies and observations prove that Kaizen events is a very effective and powerful method. However, many organizations have fail to implement Lean and Kaizen events. What is the reason behind Kaizen's success?

Some say that the key to successful Kaizen events is selective and mature planning. This opinion is half true; but it turns out that Lean teachers agree that there is one very crucial component that determines the success of Kaizen. Components are none other than: human!

The question is, will 'better' HR guarantee a 'better' Kaizen too? The reality is not. The Toyota, consider one of the most successful and successful Lean manufacturing initiates , is one of the 'anti' companies recruiting 'superstar' workers. Toyota base in Japan often prefer to recruit fresh-graduate human resources, to avoid the 'lazy learning' tendency that is often experience by experience people. Toyota prefers to develop human resources and educate them to have thoughts and cultures that are in line with Toyota's streamline.

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