Leveraging Strategic Kaizen Event Activity to Drive Improvement
Dr. Gary Alan Vance, VP of Operations, JBT Corporation, Windermere, FL, USA
Keywords: Kaizen Event Cycle, Kaizen Event Pipeline, Kaizen Event Funnel
Kaizen events have become a recognized approach for driving improvement and increasing team member engagement. Many organizations across the world have incorporated these week-long “blitz” events as a staple of their overall continuous improvement efforts. However, if approached improperly, it is possible for an organization to fall into the trap of conducting Kaizen events just for sake of conducting events. This will likely lead to suboptimal improvement results and will frustrate team members and management alike.
This presentation provides practical guidance for strategically leveraging kaizen event activity to effectively and efficiently drive improvement. Three main areas are covered. First, the methodology for building a pipeline of Kaizen events based on inputs from sources that are meaningful to the business is explored. These sources include performance metric results, daily management issues, voice of the customer feedback, value stream mapping problem clouds, annual operating plans, and strategic plans. Second, the recommended Kaizen event cycle is discussed with focus on pre-event, event, and post-event activities. This seven-week long cycle helps to ensure that events are properly planned, executed and sustained. Third, a plan is proposed for Kaizen event leadership which includes recommend training and proposed candidates for leading events. This is important because properly training Kaizen event leaders and identifying the best candidates for event leadership significantly increases the effectiveness of the events. Finally, examples of real-world utilization of these recommended approaches will be provided.