The word Kaizen traces back its origin to Japanese literature, meaning “change for better.” Upon translation to English, the word retains the meaning “improvement” and is a wildly popular term among the industry pundits. The methodology distinctly resembles lean manufacturing and stresses incremental growth in all processes of a manufacturing unit.
The big idea – Kaizen consulting anticipates ideas from all teams’ sections and sets bite-sized, achievable goals. The exercise aims to eliminate wastage and improve the efficiency of the entire manufacturing process. On the other hand, many experts consider it both an action plan (contains tried and tested formulas) and philosophies (contains superficial frameworks only).
The Dual Nature of Kaizen Consulting
As discussed, Kaizen consulting exhibits dual nature and hence could not be ignored at all costs. As per the methodology, action plans consist of organizing events for employees of all levels while tasks being associated with the employees to get gradual momentum. However, the lower rungs of the ladder are given paramount importance in the following scheme, and hence one could enjoy the liberty of being high in the hierarchy.
On the other hand, it is considered a philosophy. The aim of the consulting process from this angle is to create and promote a workplace that fosters innovation and grows through small gradual steps. This would include employees from all levels and hence could not be ignored at all costs. This, in real essence, is going lean for improving efficiency and help the company flourish all time.
Types of Kaizen
There are multiple aspects in which Kaizen could be applied to a business in one form or another. While some may want to implement Kaizen consulting for a shorter duration (let’s say a few weeks), others may want a more detailed approach (months or years). The longer ones usually need extensive planning and hence could not be ignored at all costs.
- Point Kaizen: The point kaizen is the simplest task and can be implemented straight away. Thanks to the simpler structure of the process, one does not need extensive planning. The issue is straight forward addressed and optimized. An example of point kaizen could be as simple as a supervisor doing floor inspection and coming across a fault in the process of broken equipment. The issue is then quickly addressed by the floor manager and is fixed.
- System Kaizen: System kaizen is the opposite of what point kaizen is. The process works on an upper level and has a more philosophical inclination on the list. System kaizen stands for organized, strategic planning and upper-level solutions that extend over a longer period, in contrast to point kaizen, where it lasts for months.
- Line Kaizen: Line Kaizen refers to the art in which one used lean techniques for both the upstream and downstream channels of a process or a department. For instance, one can find synergy between the planning (the upstream) and the procurement (the downstream) of the department for an ad hoc basis. This, in return, affects the entire supply chain and the rest critical aspects of the company.
- Plane Kaizen: Plane Kaizen is a methodology one above line Kaizen. In this form, several line kaizen is interconnected so that the entire organization achieves maximum efficiency. On the other hand, in the following Kaizen, the processes are chiefly changed to achieve maximum benefits.
- Cube Kaizen: Cube Kaizen refers to the act where multiple plane kaizen are connected, and the entire methods and processes are at its stake. This is a long-term aspect that even may extend to years or even decades and involves both suppliers and customers as well.
Implementing Kaizen in Teams
The utilization of the Kaizen depends upon its implementation of the schemes and adhering to the regular updates. The teams need to prepare themselves for periodic updates, and hence here are some tips from the experts about implementing Kaizen among teams.
- Note down ideas as and when it comes. Ask individuals working on something to keep an idea log with them for noting down innovative ideas, changes, and anything that could change things for good. The following idea works wonders as it is difficult for the manager to come with innovative ideas and find faults in the process.
- Hold monthly brainstorming sessions and discuss or brainstorm ideas. Keep the creative log by your side and raise concerns or improvements over certain systems that could be improved for good. On the other hand, make sure to consider removing waste and focus on how things could be improved.
- Set small, attainable roles and carve out a detailed plan that will help the organization find the right balance in implementing the changes both immediately and in the long run.
- Ensure that the proposed changes do not affect other teams or crucial aspects of the company, as proposed by Kaizen consulting.
Pros and Cons of Kaizen Methodology
The following are the pros and cons of Kaizen Methodology.
|Improvement in Efficiency.||Implementing changes across companies is hard.|
|Improved Employee Satisfaction.||The need for additional training could affect production.|
|Waste Reduction and saved costs.||It can affect suppliers and customers, as well.|
Kaizen consulting could be a boon for your company. If implemented in the right manner, it can change numerous things in many aspects. However, bringing companywide changes is not as easy as perceived. Streamlining a business could take years, and hence one must keep a fine balance between streamlining and keep growing up.