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Steps To Create Proper Kaizen Events

When you run a successful manufacturing plant you will have a low defect ratio, reduced waste, and happy employees! How can you achieve all of these things? This is not something that can happen overnight as it does take a lot of hard work, time, and effort to do. One way in which you can get started is by implementing Kaizen. What is Kaizen and how can it help to improve your company?

Kaizen is a program that allows you to make quick improvements over a very short time period. In doing this, you can quickly alter a defect that has been spotted by a quality control team and you will be able to prevent future defects from occurring and causing you to have a series of defective products that are produced and shipped out to your customers.

Lean manufacturing and Kaizen go hand in hand as they both focus on different ways to prioritize events that can impact the overall output for your company. Through Kaizen events you will be able to identify opportunities where you will be able to make certain changes to impact the bottom line of the company. Value stream mapping is commonly used with Kaizen to aid in giving you the right direction as well as being able to prioritize the current and previous events.

How can you create the right type of Kaizen events to make a difference? You need to follow a simple 5 step approach to Kaizen:
1. Choose an area to focus on. This is the first step as you need to identify a place where you will actually have a Kaizen opportunity to deal with. Using value stream mapping you may likely have several areas identified that need to be focused on due to defects or having slowing production in these areas. The goal is to find an area that needs some type of attention given to it in order to increase productivity and create a smooth-flowing process.
2. Create a team. For a Kaizen event to work properly you have to create a team to work on the event. The team members will focus on maintenance and control along with working with your suppliers and others to keep the manufacturing process moving smoothly. The main team leader needs to be well respected and must have some previous leadership experience in order to be taken seriously.
3. Proper preparation is the next step to take. The area that you are working on needs to be given plenty of attention and you must be able to have all the supplies and things ready to prevent delays and other issues. As long as the area is cleaned and prepared, it should allow the kaizen event to run smoothly and you will not need to worry about trying to find tools and other things. Focus on making preparations that allow for lighting to be used as signals and flip charts along with other communication tools that will aid in keeping everything moving along smoothly.
4. Once you are prepared you will then focus your efforts on the actual Kaizen event at hand. This will include a week-long process of focusing on the different steps with lean manufacturing from using tools like 5S to SMED in order to create the right events. Focus on brainstorming along with proper implementation in order to check on all the little odds and ends that are going to be part of Kaizen.
5. The last Kaizen step will be to evaluate your results. You will need to hold a meeting in order to determine what worked and where you can make additional changes that can improve the company.

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