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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Kaizen Events – A Forgotten Art?

5 min read Why do companies not use Kaizen events to improve? A recent LinkedIn discussion asked users why they thought many companies bypassed the use of Kaizen events to solve their problems. Apparently, the technique is a dying breed, or at least there are those who feel it is far from prominent enough. First of all, it’s important to note that a Kaizen event is different from the overall idea of ‘Kaizen’. A Kaizen event is a …

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5 Continuous Improvement Traps

5 Continuous Improvement Traps

6 min read Lean Is All About Learning – But You Still Don’t Need To Make These Mistakes So you’ve heard about this whole Lean manufacturing thing, you may have even been using it already, maybe even for months or years on end… but what happens if you’re not seeing the results you wanted or expected?  What do you do if, seemingly and despite your best efforts, Lean projects tend to fall short, or collapse altogether before even …

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5S: Commit to the Process

5S takes a commitment to excellence

4 min read The idea of 5S attracts a lot of “window shoppers,” who at first glance, become excited with the idea that they can transform their organization into a clean, organized, well working machine. However, turning their excitement into execution, is often times a challenge they are not prepared for. For many organizations, the challenge or lack of enthusiasm begins to set in after the third S. Once they have cleaned up and organized their facility, they …

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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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Theory of Constraints: Part 3

Calculator and hand over blue sky background.

3 min read A major focus within the Theory of Constraints is on increasing sales, rather than cutting costs. To keep the focus on sales, implementers of the process use an accounting method known as Throughput Accounting. The following is the third entry in a series of posts that explore the Theory of Constraints and it’s methodology. Part one of the Theory of Constraints series, offered a broad overview of the process, defined constraints, and provided a simple …

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Theory of Constraints: Part 2

theory of constraints key to success

3 min read The following is the second entry into a series of ongoing posts that explores the Theory of Constraints and it’s methodology. Part one in the Theory of Constraints series gave a broad overview of the process, defined constraints, and offered a simple breakdown of the Five Focusing Steps. Part two will now expand on the Thinking Process behind the Theory of Constraints. The Theory of Constraints Thinking Process Like Lean, the Theory of Constraints takes …

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Theory of Constraints: Part 1

Graph showing arrow going up

3 min read The Theory of Constraints is a popular methodology for organizational change and improvement that was first conceptualized by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt and introduced through his bestselling novel, The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement. The Theory of Constraints popularity grew quickly and is now a very popular methodology among many organizations. It’s growth and popularity has driven many to compare it to another improvement methodology that is also very popular –Lean. This is the first in a …

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A Few Tools for Continuous Improvement

six big losses

3 min read In this day and age, it seems like everybody has a problem designed for continuous improvement. Most companies look to pick one approach while others create programs that use their best ideas and the best of various other programs. Regardless of what kind of program you want to use, there always seems to be another problem to try and tackle, for which the basics can be necessary. Enhancing the protocols and processes of your business …

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