Kaizen is the idea of having continuous improvement in the workplace bycontinuously making small incremental changes throughout time that will add up to a larger impact on the manufacturing process and ultimately the bottom line. Implementing the tools of Kaizen and going through Kaizen activities are important for the success and businesses may take different approaches. Daily Kaizen is often used to address smaller improvements while Kaizen events have a more specific focus on a process or specific waste. Whether your facility chooses to practice Daily Kaizen, hold Kaizen events periodically, or a combination of the two, it is important to understand the difference and benefits of each,
Daily Kaizen is just like the name says, it is a day-to-day process that takes place continuously with no set end date. This daily practice is used to identify small improvements across the entire workplace every single day. Every worker in the facility can participate in daily Kaizen including those on the frontline who see problems in processes. When an issue is noticed, or a worker has an improvement idea, these employees should then discuss the situation with a coworker or supervisor and tryout the idea using the Plan > Do >Check > Act Cycle (or another scientific method). The worker can then make notes about the idea’s outcome and note whether or not the changes were a success. Following that these changes can either be standardized or worked on to improve further results.
Working on Kaizen daily ensures everyone in the workplace and ensure the objectives of multiple departments are aligned with each other. The flow of both material and information will be improved, and the small changes made day-to-day will have an overall impact on the bottom line and efficiency throughout the facility.
Another option to implement Kaizen in the workplace is by holding Kaizen event, also called a Kaizen blitz. Unlike daily Kaizen, Kaizen events are not meant to be an ongoing effort but rather have an end date scheduled. These events can last anywhere between a few hours, a few days, or a full week. A Kaizen event should have a clear focus and be set on either improving a specific part of the manufacturing process or reducing a specific waste in the process.
Identifying what is going to be addressed during the event is the first step in the planning of a Kaizen event. Unlike all workers in the facility participating like in daily Kaizen, only a small team will be selected to participate and carry out a Kaizen blitz. Often these teams will be between six and ten people with a number of workers from different areas and levels and it is important for a well-rounded team to be chosen. The event itself is carried out often using the PDCA cycle and follows a stricter schedule than daily Kaizen activities.
While Kaizen events and the daily practice of Kaizen can be beneficial to a manufacturing facility, a workplace can receive full benefits by implementing a combination of the two. Employees can be trained on identifying smaller issues in the process and the incremental changes they can make while working on the frontline. No matter what Kaizen activities you decide to implement in your workplace, focusing on continuous improvement can result in a number of benefits including reducing waste and streamlining processes.