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1. Presentation covering the basics of Kaizen

This Lean manufacturing presentation covers the basics of kaizen, which is a key concept in the deployment of a lean transformation. The presentation defines the Japanese word, explains the results that can be achieved with kaizen and covers the rules (yes, there are rules!) of kaizen.  The last slide offers a short case study which in a few very simple sentences explains the power of kaizen and why companies like Toyota and others have had so much success with it.
A very good way to illustrate the importance of kaizen is to not that it is to be found at the very center of the TPS house.  (If you are new to the TPS house, or would like a refresher, click here to download a copy).
Click on the blue arrow to the right to download the presentation. 
Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning, “change for the better” and it differs from many continuous improvement methodologies in several key features. Some of these include:
• Improvements are relatively small in scope; implemented in one week or less.
• Authority to implement change is moved to those employees that are closest to the customer (i.e. closest to the production)
• The expectation is that kaizen be completed frequently; in many companies the expectation is several implemented kaizen ideas per month per employee
• Everybody must participate: kaizen involves everybody from the individual worker to the CEO.
• The 3 rules of kaizen are: 1) add no space, 2) add no people and 3) spend no money.

Although it certainly takes some practice for the company kicking off it’s lean journey, each kaizen event should result in measurable improvements in eliminating waste from the process in question. This reduction in waste, in turn should result in a shorter throughput time as measured by a reduction in cycle times and/or less inventory between processes.

Many companies begin by holding 5 day kaizen workshops.  These focused events are made up of a cross-functional team that analyzes and changes a specific production area or process.  To read more about the mechanics of a kaizen workshop, click here to read a previously published article by Gembutsu.

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