A Kaizen event is a planned process which is focused on the improvement of a specific part of the business. Ideally this should be done focusing on getting rapid results for a very specific problem or opportunity. Having these changes put in place quickly and supported by the people who will be using them in an ongoing way will help businesses in a wide range of different ways.
Kaizen events can change from business to business, but they typically have a common approach to planning and implementing them. The following steps are typically taken when starting a Kaizen Event:
- Planning – Kaizen leaders will gather data about a particular issue and propose that a Kaizen event is scheduled to attempt to solve the problem quickly.
- The Event Itself – Leadership teams gather together a team which will focus all their energy on this event for the next several days. Included in the team will be both members of management and key assets from the area which is directly responsible for the area being addressed.
- Follow Up – Once the event has taken place and been completed it is important for the Kaizen leadership team to follow up to make sure all the solutions and tasks proposed were put in place and the solution is continuing to work on a long term basis.
As you can see these events are not long or drawn out. Their primary attribute that virtually all Kaizen events have in common is that they are fast moving and short lived bursts of attention on a specific problem. The intent, however, is to produce long lasting results which can help improve the efficiency and profitability of a specific task within the corporation.
Benefits of a Kaizen Event
Most changes in business today can take weeks, months or even years of planning and approval processes to get through. While people may be excited for the change at first, they often lose this enthusiasm over time because things take so long to get done. With a Kaizen event everyone involved is able to harness this natural energy and enthusiasm to get results fast.
The event also helps by improving the morale and spirits of the employees working directly in the event as well as those who will benefit from the changes being implemented. The fast acting change will be a great boost to everyone in the area and allow them to quickly see the results of these changes being made on the corporate level. When changes are made in this fashion it has been shown to help boost the production of employees because they are more motivated than after other types of changes.
Finally, Kaizen events have been proven to be an extremely effective way to overcome difficulties or problems very quickly. Rather than having to go through several layers of management and review boards for a change the Kaizen event will gather everyone involved together so they can get immediate review and approval of the change in minutes rather than days.