What is Kaizen?
From the Japanese Kai = Change, Zen = For the better. Kaizen is the process of recognising the seven elements of waste and eliminating them incrementally through low cost, team orientated approach, generating improvement ideas using the “Plan Do Check Act” cycle.
Waste is “ any activity the customer is not prepared to pay for” (Taiichi Ono) – non-value adding, and falls into two extraPagesCategories: necessary waste (quality checks etc.) and unnecessary waste (main targets for kaizen).
Businesses can get very quick deliverables from a kaizen approach. However, planning, focus area selection and leadership passion to remove roadblocks is critical. A kaizen team should know how the focus area improvements will impact on the value stream of a product or service.
What can you expect to achieve from a kaizen workshop?
Fundamentally you will engage people in improvement activity, empowering them to address issues that they may have been complaining about for years. We have delivered workshops where suppliers have been involved, resulting in commitment to cost reductions (real invoice to invoice savings) reported out at the end of the kaizen. The team will focus on Safety, Quality, Cost, Delivery and Productivity elements in efforts to creating flow, reducing inventory and freeing up space and capacity, whatever the process.
The examples given here are actual achievements from 5 day workshops:
- Set up time on plastic moulding machine reduced from 4hrs 20min to 19min then replicated across 15 other presses.
- Set up time on a lathe reduced from 1hr 28min to 16min
- Kit time reduced from 3hrs 40min to 1hr 45min
- WIP in a process reduced from 7.5 weeks to 0.5 weeks
- Lead time on a harness reduced from 2 weeks to 24 hours (and reducing stock)
- Pipe assembly productivity increased from 3.8 pipes / person to 7.9
- Time to carry out an Exam on a train reduced by 42 mins
- Design process paper control reduced from 28 pieces to 1. Reducing the lead time from concept to market.
- Clean and check on chemical vat reduced from 66 min to 35 min
- Application lead time reduced from 2 weeks to 3 days
- Diesel engine pack change reduced from 10 hours with 4 persons to 5 hours with 4 persons