Continuous Improvement Tools

2 min read To achieve success with Kaizen – the Japanese philosophy of change for the better – it’s beneficial to adopt some of the tools in the continuous improvement toolbox. Kaizen Newspaper A kaizen newspaper is a document that lists current ideas, problems, solutions, and responsible parties. The newspaper is usually in spreadsheet or chart format and it is posted so everyone can see it. The document also indicates which phase of the PDCA cycle an idea …

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Going Lean: Push vs Pull Production

Pull system in a facility

2 min read Lean manufacturing aims to eliminate wastes and improve productivity, primarily by operating on a pull system known as just-in-time (JIT) production. The JIT method is opposite to push systems on the spectrum of supply chain management and can often be the barrier for a company going Lean. In a push system, production is scheduled to meet the forecasted rate of demand. Also known as mass production, the push method has been around for centuries and …

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Muda, Mura, and Muri: The Three Wastes

3 min read Identifying waste using the 3 Ms can help you more easily set goals and create conditions that avoid unnecessary repetition of efforts (muda), unevenness of those efforts (mura), or efforts that cause strain (muri). By focusing improvement activities on eliminating the non-value-adding parts of the production process, balance between capacity and load can be achieved. Muda refers to waste in the most basic sense: any activity that doesn’t add value. There are seven wastes of …

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Kaizen Case Study: Siemens Oostkamp

kaizen case study

2 min read Siemens Oostkamp produces electronic components such as relays, connectors, and coils. The combination of fewer orders from their parent company and increasingly intense global competition forced them to look for new markets. On his first tour of the plant, the kaizen consultant asked the supervisors if specific information was available, such as failure rate or setup times, and the answer was always, “It’s in the computer.” But when asked to retrieve it, no one ever …

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5 Tips for Kaizen Continuous Improvement

Kaizen

5 min read Implement Kaizen Continuous Improvement in 5 Steps or Less Kaizen, the Japanese term underlying the concept of “continuous improvement,” continues to dominate work flow theory and the training that improvement professionals receive when they look for ways to bring their charges ‘to the next level’. Of course, the traditional tools and teachings of Kaizen are time-proven and ultimately brilliant in their own right, but there are undoubtedly other factors that can influence the effectiveness of …

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How Kaizen is Imperative to LEAN Success

kaizen event

4 min read Kaizen is a Japanese term that relates to making continuous improvement in organizations through improving the process. Kaizen events have been met with opposition by many organizations because for it to work successfully, employees must step away from their jobs between three and five days to participate in the events. Rather than take a preventative approach, employers are more likely to use kaizen events to address problems retroactively. This approach is ineffective. To have the …

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What is Kaikaku?

Hand writing Time to Improve concept with red marker on transparent wipe board.

3 min read When most people think of Lean ideologies and methodologies, they think of kaizen and continuous improvement first. However as one moves deeper into Lean, you begin to add new vocabulary and processes to your Lean tool bag. Today’s word of the day: kaikaku. Most that know or have heard of kaizen think of it as a slow continuous improvement that is necessary to sustain a successful operation. Kaikaku, on the other hand, translates to “radical …

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Vocoli Takes Suggestion Box To New Level

Ideas out of the box concept on green blackboard

3 min read Has Vocoli saved the suggestion box? The traditional suggestion box has long been thought of as a thing of the past. The dusty wood box that no one can usually find, sitting with a couple of broken pencils and some half doodled pieces of paper, has been in desperate need of an upgrade for years. Vocoli, a product of a Brighton-based Web development firm Massachusetts Technology Corp, was launched in September and is attempting change …

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SDCA Cycle for LEAN

3 min read SDCA (Standardize, Do, Check, and Act) with LEAN principles. The SDCA cycle is simply a refinement of the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, and Act) cycle. The goal of both processes is to stabilize production. Many companies use this process to improve their product or service. Here is what your company may want to know about this process. 1. LEAN Marketing with SDCA Marketing cycles can be improved with iterative processes. Customer value is most often …

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A Restaurant Experience Worth Mentioning

Buffalo wings

3 min read We’ve all had a bad experience at a restaurant. It’s nothing we or the restaurant ever hope for, but it’s the risk we take each time we venture out for a meal. We generally choose a restaurant for one of two reasons, the food or the atmosphere and set our expectations accordingly. For my most recent dining experience I went with the latter and made my way to Buffalo Wild Wings. There were multiple sporting …

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