Introducing the Kaizen Newspaper

By Ron Pereira Updated on March 2nd, 2021

This evening we conclude our series on value stream mapping.  We have covered lots of ground.  If you are just joining us, no worries, you can catch up by reading the following articles.

What Have We Really Accomplished?

Here is a sobering fact… short of uncovering lots of opportunities we haven’t accomplished much up to this point.  A skeptic could say all we have done so far is draw some nice pictures.

With this said, the most important aspect of the value stream mapping process has yet to be started.  That aspect is actually making changes and bridging the gap between the current state and future state VSM.

There are many approaches to this and even more templates available.  I am a simple man, and thus prefer to keep things as easy as possible.  As such, I know of no better tool to help with this phase of the game than the kaizen newspaper.

Extra, Extra Read all About it!

The kaizen newspaper is a simple template that states the following:

  • The Problem Statement.  Simply put, what is the problem we are addressing.  To help ensure you are stating your problem statement properly I highly recommend you keep things SMART.
  • The Objective.  What is the goal or point of the initiative?  Again, think SMART when stating the objective.  Don’t just say we want to make it better.  How much better?  What does success look like?
  • The Owner.  Who is leading the initiative?  Seeing your name on a huge piece of paper hung on the wall can be a poweful motivator!
  • The Due Date.  When will the initiative be complete?  Since kaizen never ends you may choose to simply state the date the act/adjust phase begins.
  • The Phase.  Here we note what phase of the plan, do, check, act/adjust (PDCA) we are in.  If you are more of a six sigma organization you can easily replace PDCA with DMAIC.  Do whatever works best for your business.

Here is free kaizen newspaper template to get you started.  Feel free to tweak it as you see fit.  Some like to add in things like the type of waste you are attacking, etc.

Revisiting KB&R’s PB&J Sandwich Factory

The team at KB&R has lots of work to do.  They have decided to list out their plan of attack using a kaizen newspaper.  Rather than showing the detailed kaizen plan, here are the highlights.

First, they are going to design, build, and then test the new cell that will operate in one piece flow, paced to takt time.  They will do this “offline” in such a way that production is not impacted.

Next, they will also work to properly size the FG and WIP supermarkets and associated kanban.  They have hired a lean consultant to help them with this since this is very new territory to them.

During the development of the pull system the production planning team will determine how they will move away from their old MRP manner of scheduling each work station.  Instead, they will now schedule the pacemaker process.

Finally, the way KB&R communicates with its customers and suppliers will change.  To accomplish this, meetings have already been setup in order to work this process out.

The team has broken these tasks done and assigned owners using a kaizen newspaper.  This newspaper has been printed out on on a plotter sized piece of paper and hung on the wall for all to see.


Taking action is the most important part of value stream mapping.  If all you do is draw up a current and future state VSM and leave it sitting in drawer you have wasted an enormous amount of time.

Will the finished product (post kaizen) look exactly like your future state VSM?  Probably not.  But as long as improvement is being made you are on the right path.

Last Piece of Advice: Be Speedy!

My last word of advice is this… be speedy!  A current state VSM can be done in 1 day.  The future state VSM should start that same day… or at the latest the next morning.  Don’t, I plead with you, think you will get to the future state VSM next week.  That is the kiss of death!

Finally, once the future state VSM is complete and the point kaizen events are identified, set aggressive goals.  I have seen tremendous transformations occur in 4 days!  These lighting fast transformations are culture changing to say the least.

Recommended Reading

I hope you have enjoyed this series on value stream mapping.  We have covered a lot of ground to be sure.  To continue your VSM learning journey you may consider checking out these resources.  They have helped me a lot over the years.

  • Learning to See.  This is the bible on value stream mapping.  It teaches you how to “see waste” in a new way.

  • Creating Continuous Flow. After learning to see waste we must learn to make value value flow.  Learn all about creating cells in this workbook.

  • Creating Level Pull.  Learn all about kanban in this excellent resource.

Value Stream Mapping Overview

If you want to dive deeper into this topic be sure to check out our Value Stream Mapping Overview video below.  This is the first video in our Transforming your Value Streams Course.

  1. Rob

    March 3, 2008 - 7:04 am

    Hi Ron – great new look on the blog!

    Do you see any crossover or integration with the A3 process here?

  2. Ron Pereira

    March 3, 2008 - 8:25 am

    Thanks Rob. I do see crossover. However, the kaizen newspaper is probably a little more holistic in nature where the A3 may be more focused on a single issue. Of course the A3 can also be used holistically. In the end, all we want to do is document the plan… so we can work the plan.

  3. Rob

    March 5, 2008 - 5:28 am

    Thanks Ron. I read your book with interest. I notice that you’ve developed an interest in philosophy. I find that it’s great for developing an objective train of thought. I especially find that once you understand logical fallacies, other peoples arguments become easy to address and respond to. Politicians use these fallacies all the time.


  4. Mark

    April 9, 2008 - 5:00 pm

    Thank you very much. This is a great sharing of information and it is immensely appreciated.

  5. Ron Pereira

    April 9, 2008 - 6:49 pm

    You are very welcome, Mark. Thanks for stopping by and for the nice comment.

  6. Hemanth

    February 25, 2009 - 11:27 am

    Thanks Ron
    This is the first time I have seen such a detailed explanation of VSM and lean strategies. Will come back to learn more..

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