The Kaizen leader is an individual, who is responsible for a group of people, who will be working toward identifying quality improvement processes in a given company or facility. The leader will help direct the group toward identifying waste in an area, and focuses on eliminating it in the best way possible. These leaders are typically going to have significant experience working in lean environments, and participating in Kaizen groups.
The leader will also be responsible for planning and helping to facilitate any Kaizen events for the team. These events will focus on a specific area of improvement, and can be a great way to make rapid improvements in a company. Of course, the success of these types of events relies largely on the guidance of the Kaizen leader, which is why this role is so important.
Each facility will expect different things out of their Kaizen leaders. Generally, however, the leader will need to discuss any Kaizen events with the facilitator of the event. In some cases, the leader will also be the facilitator, in which case it is a good idea to discuss the event with another key individual in the group to ensure the event goes well.
The leader will define the scope of an event, and identify which other people should be on the team for the specific event. They will then go on to study the process, and list findings for both the benefit of the individuals on the team, and the management team as well. They are largely responsible for ensuring everyone is aware of what the Kaizen team is working on, and measuring to what extent a Kaizen event was successful.
In many cases, a Kaizen leader won’t have any authority, in the traditional sense, over the team. They are simply given the responsibility for guiding the Kaizen team through day to day objectives as well as specific Kaizen events. This can make it difficult for the leader, but a good one will be able to get the support needed to ensure everyone stays focused on the objective at hand. They will also depend on the Kaizen facilitator to help them achieve their goals.
When a Kaizen leader and facilitator work well together, and remain focused on their agreed upon goals, they are much more likely to achieve the goals they set out to accomplish. It is essential for a leader to ensure the specific objectives of any event are clearly laid out for everyone involved. This will help to not only keep everyone on task, but also provide a more accurate way to measure the success or failure of any event.
A good Kaizen leader will also rely heavily on the individuals that are part of the team. These individuals will provide technical and other information to the leader to be reviewed, and analyzed. The leader can then take this type of information and use it to provide further guidance to the group, as well as share the results from members of the leadership team.
A good Kaizen leader can truly make the difference between success and failure for any Kaizen activities, which is why it is so important for a facility to choose the right individual for the job.