What Is A Kaizen Event?
A Kaizen Event, in essence, is a process usually lasting 3 – 5 days where a team of people get together to try and make improvements in a process or aspect of the business. Kaizen itself is a Japanese Lean term meaning Continuous Improvement, a culture that Lean businesses aim to integrate throughout the entire organisation. It is a long-term business commitment, whereas a Kaizen Event is a concentrated, targeted effort in a focussed area.
In typical businesses, a group of people would get together to look at a process, when/if a problem arose. A Kaizen Event is a Lean initiative that focuses on improving a process before any issue arises. Typically, a Kaizen Event will focus on removing the waste from a process. Businesses may be reluctant to take this approach as it takes people away from their day to day job. However, a successful Kaizen Event will save sufficiently more money for the company than it loses.
The most common goals of Kaizen Events are to:
- Gather a team of specialist operators, managers and owners of a process into one place at the same time.
- Map an existing process in its current state.
- Use the insight and expertise of the team to improve the existing process.
- Solicit buy-in from all parties involved in the process to improve it.
So, How Do You Run A Kaizen Event?
These are some simplified steps to follow from planning to success.
- Find a leader in Lean. You need someone to run the Kaizen Event and this should person should have a good knowledge of the Lean. If there isn’t anyone who fits this description in your workplace, consider getting a Lean expert from Clarity VM Consulting to facilitate your session.
- Make sure there is buy-in from the top! The leadership team doesn’t necessarily need to be at the event itself, but they need to be committed to the process in that they will champion your findings and results.
- Set your target. Decide which process you are going to look at.
- Assemble your team. Find the key players in the process and the experts and assemble them into your team.
- What does success look like? How will you know if you are successful? How will you measure the results?
- Create a Schedule and share it. Create a schedule of tasks for the event with proposed timings and share them with your team so that they know what to expect and can come prepared.
Here is just a brief overview of what you should ensure to include:
- The current process. Map it out, what does it look like.
- Find the waste
- Understand your customer. To correctly identify your waste you need to understand your customer and what is of value to them.
- In an ideal world, what would this process look like?
- Find ways in which you can remove the waste from the system and work towards that ideal process.
- Map out the new process.
- Can it be sustained?
- Plan the transition to the new process.
- Run the Event
- Plan in time to reflect – Is it working? Does it need changing?
- Present the results
- Celebrate your Success!
In addition to improving a process, Kaizen Events can also have some extra hidden benefits. Learn more about how a Kaizen Event can have an impact at your company in our blog Kaizen Events: Clarity Consulting’s Secret Weapon
ClarityVM Consulting, making Lean work…
Here at ClarityVM Consulting, we coach clients both far and wide about how they can use Lean and visual management to achieve their goals, exceed their targets and make financial savings which would otherwise be lost to waste. We work with our clients to create a bespoke strategy that ensures Lean is set up for success before providing specific, high-quality visual management products to sustain the initiative and make Lean work in the organisation long-term.
You can read more about the work we’ve undertaken with our clients by browsing through our Visual Management Case Studies
Further reading on the Clarity Blog:
- Developing an Effective Standard Operating Procedure
- Assessing Goals and Auditing Strategies
- Aldeburgh Lifeboat Station – Saving Lives With Lean Thinking
- A Visual Management Definition You Can Rely On
- Kaizen Events: Clarity Consulting’s Secret Weapon
- Why Your Workplace Communication Fails (…and How To Improve It)
- Why Lean Programmes Fail
- 6 Simple Solutions to Battle Workplace Stress
- How To Make Your Process Improvements Stick Around
- How To Create A Culture Of Improvement In Your Workplace
- 6 Challenges For Effective Business Leadership
- Our Favourite Lean Quotes…
- Beat Procrastination and get Motivated
- How to improve the morale in your workplace