101 Kaizen Templates: Kaizen Newspaper

One of the guidelines to operating an effective suggestion system is to limit the scope of suggestions. A person’s kaizen ideas should focus on the work they themselves do. Sometimes teams of people develop kaizen ideas but the same rule applies. The theory is that the people doing the job knows what the issues are. Therefore, they will be most motivated and able to find solutions to problems that inconvenience them.

But what should we do when we see problems with work in other people’s work or work areas? Walk on by as if we don’t see them? Certainly not, but we need to be careful when suggesting improvements to someone else’s work area. Fortunately, there are several good ways that lean management does this.

Job Rotation Encourages Improvement Observations

One of the features of a lean workplace is regular job rotation. The frequency of job rotation depends on how repetitive the task is and also on the need for cross training. In a repetitive manufacturing environment people would rotate jobs every 2 hours, or roughly every time there is a scheduled break. For non-repetitive tasks, processes that do not place a heavy strain on people or work with longer cycles to complete, the frequency of rotation may be increased.

By rotating people through different jobs they enrich their skills, and the workforce becomes more flexible and responsive to changes in customer demand. When both job rotation and a suggestion system exist within the same, workplace people are exposed to more processes and can contribute their kaizen ideas to more areas.

Visual Management of Improvement Ideas

Another way to involve people in giving improvement ideas to areas other than their immediate work area or job scope is to use kaizen newspapers. The kaizen newspaper is a visual management tool to engage people, communicate the state of problem solving activity in an area at a glance, and track the status of these actions visually. This Kaizen Newspaper should not be used as a spreadsheet to track the improvement ideas electronically. Instead, the kaizen newspaper should be visible in the work area. Print or sketch out the kaizen newspapers on a large piece of paper and post them on the gemba.

Kaizen Newspaper Responsibilities

The responsibility of the person who identifies a problem is to write it down on the kaizen newspaper. This includes numbering it, and identifying the type of problem (safety, category of waste, etc.). They may take a stab at a cause or root cause. They are not responsible for finding a solution.

The kaizen newspaper frees people from bringing the solution along with the problem. In that sense it is very different from the kaizen idea suggestion system. The person finding the problem may have a solution in mind. But this is not required, because they may be identifying problems outside of their own work. It is up to the area leader or supervisor to review the problem with the team. Then, after clarifying that this is an actual problem, they can conduct root cause analysis. Once the team identifies one or more possible countermeasures, they write these down and track their actions.

Tracking Improvement Workshop Actions on a Kaizen Newspaper

The kaizen newspaper gets its name because it should be “news” that is updated daily. It is a daily management tool that teams review each day as they take actions. The kaizen newspaper is also used during a improvement workshops. A kaizen event may involve a cross-functional teams, generating many observations and ideas. The kaizen newspaper can function as a parking lot for problems identified during such events, as a task list of things for team members to do during the week, or as an action item list for after the completion of the formal kaizen event.

Learn More about Kaizen Newspapers

We have posted articles previously on how to use a kaizen newspaper and also on the reason why it is called a kaizen newspaper so please refer to those for further details.

7 Comments

  1. Ron Pereira

    March 7, 2008 - 6:44 pm
    Reply

    Ok, Jon. This is a question I have never asked someone before in a comment… but… is the guy in the red shirt me? I think it is… and my wife swears it’s me!
    If it is, man what a flashback from the past brother!

  2. Will L.

    March 9, 2008 - 8:36 am
    Reply

    Jon,
    Clicking on the link to the template is not leading me to the template, but back to this page. Can you please check the link and advise.
    Thanks.

  3. Will L.

    March 9, 2008 - 9:26 am
    Reply

    Jon,
    Problem solved. It was downloading, rather than opening. Sorry for the confusion.

  4. Jon Miller

    March 14, 2008 - 12:01 pm
    Reply

    Ron,
    You crack me up. No it’s not you in the photo. The photo was tagged from a local company, ca 2001.
    Jon

  5. Severine Kashindye

    January 20, 2010 - 6:48 am
    Reply

    I need to learn more about kaizen Event

  6. Raymond Parker

    December 28, 2020 - 7:09 pm
    Reply

    Link does not give access to Kaizen newspaper template? Help?

    • Jon Miller

      December 28, 2020 - 8:40 pm
      Reply

      Link fixed.

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