Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kaizen Events - the more the better ???...or it might be the indication of a bigger problem?

Is your company setting targets for doing a lot of Kaizen workshops to improve the processes? if your answer is yes, congratulations, BUT you might also be falling into a trap.
I think it is ok to do kaizen to improve processes that have been around in organizations for a while, but doing a lot of kaizen projects in processes or products are are relatively new, should be seen as a symptom for a much bigger problem.
If you are doing a lot of Kaizen on a new product or process, the work that was done during the design or planning face of that product or process was definitely very poor. Why should you be doing tons of Kaizens in something that was just designed or planned? did not you think thoroughly about all the possible lean opportunities during your planning or design face? do you still have a disconnect between your design group and your manufacturing group? was your manufacturing group feeding back information to the design group during the planning planning phase? did your design group go to gemba (shop floor) to see how their designs were going to affect the manufacturing process of the product?
Kaizen events are good once a product is launched, but they are much better if they are done during the planning and design phases of your products or processes.  Imagine all the waste that you could eliminate up front just by thinking ahead with your LEAN GOGGLES on.
so next time you see or hear a manager proudly showing presentation about the amount of Kaizens that he is doing, you will know where that person has the major design and planning

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