Building Kaizen Culture!

In Agile business, Kaizen is considered as strategic tool to bring continuous improvement. Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) is a strategy where employees at all levels of an organization, work together to achieve regular, incremental, small improvements to the process. In a sense, it combines collective talent and common sense, within a company to create an engine for improvement. “If kaizen is the work of making our processes better, creating a kaizen culture is the work of getting better at kaizen.”

Building Kaizen Culture!

To create this culture, we need to plan – It is important to understand “Why” – Why do we need improvement? Followed by “What” and “How”. This involves multiple workshops/brainstorming sessions involving relevant stakeholders across organization As an action, once we know purpose of achieving “Kaizen”, engage stakeholders, implement - improvement across various areas and monitor them to get continuous feedback. This type of cycle is frequently referred to as PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, and Act) - Plan (develop a hypothesis) Do (run experiment) Check (evaluate results) Act (refine your experiment; then start a new cycle) But in order to support continuous improvement, and to keep patrons striving to achieve Kaizen, theorists recommend practising 5S within PDCA, which will lead to standardized processes, better time management, improved work culture, and increase in employee satisfaction. So what exactly does 5S stand for? 1. Sort (Seiri) - Removing all unnecessary items from the process. Following points need to be kept in mind to implement Sort - Is this value added step? If it is needed, is it needed in this quantity? If it is needed, how frequently is it used? If it is needed, should it be located here? 2. Set In Order (Seiton) - Creating a specific location for everything. Following points need to be kept in mind to implement Set in Order - Who is ultimately responsible for the step/process ? The work items in holding area should be analysed - If the items are not needed for work, then the items can be disposed. It is always necessary to verify plans to dispose of items with anyone who had been using these items in the past or are presently using the same or similar type of items. Disposal should be done in either of the following ways. Move to other section where the items are required. Discard and haul away Decide which things to put where and in what order 3. Shine (Seiso) - Clean the work area Dispose all items which have no value. Re-Order process in order decided in previous step 4. Standardise (Seiketsu) - Standardise the best practice. This can be done using - Defining Entry-Exit criterias Standardize Schedules/feedback loops 5. Sustain (Shitsuke) - Never slip back into the old ways. This involves training and discipline to ensure that everyone follows 5s, and continues path of Kaizen - This should be pull not push Continuous review of feedback loops Implement Lessons Learnt Leadership should encourage - Autonomy and Purpose To get the greatest success, the nature and implication of each “S” need to be understood by each stakeholder and should be regularly practiced. This might be a slow process to begin with but once everyone sees less waste, better productivity, lesser lead time it picks pace, people feel motivated and start working towards common goal.

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