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Kaizen, how it will improve your manufacturing plant

bottles34878846.jpgKaizen was developed by the Toyota Production System as a way to improve your company by reducing or eliminating wastes and increasing efficiency. Lean manufacturing uses the principle of Kaizen to help improve manufacturing facilities all over the world.

When you hear Kaizen, you may also hear the phrase Kaizen events. This is referring to the focus on teamwork to solve problems within the organization. The various kaizen events are business opportunities that allow you to change the way you work. Perhaps your particular kaizen event refers to the way your design flow is working or it may refer to the way in which your design is setup. There are other parts of kaizen events that reduce production such as cycle time, speed, waste, and many other issues. Identifying the kaizen issues will allow you to build a stronger manufacturing plant and help to reduce wastes while you are at it.

Using kaizen starts by picking a team. This team will be responsible for identifying the various kaizen events and finding solutions for them. Generally a kaizen team will have about 7 people or less. They will spend all of their time seeking out the kaizen events until they are all identified. Then they will spend their time focusing on how to fix the kaizen events and build a successful and stronger organization. The team you choose needs to have various personalities and individuals that work in different departments. This way you will have greater knowledge about the overall organization in the group and it will be easier to improve lead time and other issues.

The reason to determine kaizen events is so you can focus on significant improvement. When you research more into kaizen, you will find the phrase "to reduce waste" in there. As you can see, you want to combine the purpose of kaizen with your mission and come up with a great way to reduce waste and focus on building a stronger company.

The various kaizen events will follow a strategic method as follows:

  • The objective of the kaizen event

  • The team members focusing on the kaizen event including the leader

  • The kaizen event stated

  • Resourced required to improve the kaizen event

  • Completion date

  • Results you expect to see

  • Signoffs

A kaizen team must be very strong if it is going to bring in problem-solving techniques to the company. When you select the kaizen team, you need to make sure that they can follow the plan-do-check-act principles. Plan-do-check-act or PDCA follows a simple process of planning what the actions are, carrying out the actions, checking the actions, and finally checking the results of the implemented actions. This is a great way to make sure a problem is actually solved correctly. The kaizen team will work effectively when they do their own research and gather all the facts they need to make correct decisions. As they gather the information and generate reports, the information will be forwarded to management who then can intervene in the final call if it is necessary.

Kaizen is a new way to conduct business in an organized manner. Using the various procedures and tasks of kaizen you will see how the company comes together as a team and how you each have various jobs that each need to be changed in their own way until everything within the company is standardized.

When a process is standardized, it is much easier to keep people on track. If you don't have standardized procedures, it is too easy for employees to fall back into old habits that may be leaving your company with excess waste in the first place.

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