What is a Kaizen event?

2 min read Kaizen events, sometimes referred to as “Rapid Improvement Events” or “Kaizen Blitzes,” take place over a short period of time, usually a week or less. A Kaizen event is an action where the end result is to improve an existing process. A Kaizen event is a short-term effort to implement small, company wide improvements. A Kaizen event should include training, analysis, design, and reconfiguring. It is not unusual for a Kaizen event to last anywhere …

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Gemba Kaizen

Gemba Kaizen

2 min read Gemba and kaizen go together like peanut butter and jelly. In Japanese, Gemba means “the actual place”. In kaizen, the phrase “Go to Gemba First” is often used. It means that you must go to where the action is or where the process is completed. It is the workbench, the sales meeting, production line, or the cubicle. To make changes in a process, you must actually see the process in action. Many managers never leave …

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Heijunka Overview

Overview of a factory at work

3 min read Toyota defines Heijunka as the overall leveling, in the production schedule , of the volume and variety of items produced in given time periods and adds that it is a pre-requisite for just-in-time delivery. The basic Japanese translation of Heijunka, is “levelization.” Why Heijunka? Production leveling, as it is also referred to is essential to any Lean facility in their pursuit to eliminate waste and improve their production efficiency. Demands frequently change and without the …

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Failure is a Matter of Perspective

success/failure

3 min read It’s nearly impossible to live your life without experiencing some form of failure. At some point if your life, you have more than likely failed at something. You can try to live cautiously and do only what’s necessary to avoid the risk of failure, but in the world of Lean, that is failure. To be great you have to take chances, you have to think outside of the box and be willing to accept the …

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A Creative Mind is A Productive Mind

Creative art

3 min read As each day comes and goes we often find ourselves just going through the motions as a means to get through them. We wake up, go to work, come home, and repeat. It’s a cycle that’s tough to break and while it may seem robotic from the outside, to you it’s just another day. Unfortunately, these types of mental slumps all but shut down our ability to spark creativity. One of the biggest factors in …

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Jidoka: The Other Pillar

Jidoka Pillar

3 min read If you were building a house and neglected to build the foundation first, chances are your home would crumble before long. Much can be said about Jidoka and the Toyota Production System (TPS). In fact, if we were to construct the TPS into a two pillar home, jidoka would be one of the pillars, with just-in-time (JIT) being the other. The home needs both pillars to stand tall and give the rest of the pieces …

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8 Keys to Designing a Lean Facility

design a lean facility

3 min read Coming up with the best design for your Lean facility is a task like no other. It’s takes more than skills and expertise to design a facility, especially one that emphasizes Lean philosophies. To construct a proper Lean layout, one must also add creativity to their skills and expertise to have success. It’s not a task for just anyone to take on, but sticking the these eight keys will help you get through your journey …

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Value Stream Mapping 101

Value Stream Mapping

3 min read Value stream mapping is considered one of the most powerful visual tools in Lean. Regardless of the type of work you do, they can be an extremely useful part of your work and help eliminate waste, in areas you never knew waste existed. What is a Value Stream? A commonly used and basic definition of a value stream is as follows: All the steps, both value adding and non-value adding required to take a product …

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Why Ask Why?

Why should we ask why?

3 min read If you ever need a refresher course on investigative persistence just tell a toddler “no” when they really want something. While most adults are able to accept no for an answer, a toddler sees this as an opportunity for discussion and to find the real reason they were told no. How do they do this? Well quite simple actually, they ask why and they don’t stop asking why until they get to the root cause. …

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10 Commandments to Continuous Improvement

The 10 Commandmnets of continuous improvement

4 min read The challenge to keep a path of continuous improvement on track is full of obstacles and interference. In the back of our mind we know what we should be doing, but there are often times when we just can’t seem to stay on track. I recently watched an online video (shown below) from the Gemba Academy titled “Ten Commandments of Continuous Improvement” and it reminded me of the great mental tools a Lean mind is …

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