The idea of PWINT kaizen is to look for kaizen ideas that are within a narrowly defined process band, with a particular perspective of observation. The letters PWINT stand for Processing, Waiting, Inspection and Transportation. It’s tempting to pronounce PWINT as “point” but it’s more fun to imitate Elmer Fudd and say “pwint.” I apologize in advance to any readers who may struggle to translate PWINT into their own language to teach it in a non-English speaking country, as I know how that feels.
Three of the four perspectives of observation in PWINT are included in the traditional 7 types of waste, with inspection being recognized as a non value added step but not a waste per se. These 3 wastes are often neglected because they are seen as unavoidable (transportation), misunderstood (processing) or because compared to defects, overproduction or inventory they are not so harmful (particularly true of waiting). The 28 statements represent something close to the ideal conditions within a process, so answering “yes” to all of them is the initial goal. Anytime a box is checked in “N” for “no” this is an opportunity for kaizen. Select the top 3 areas for improvement based on urgency and ease of implementation and summarize on the bottom section of the worksheet. Then post this worksheet in your primary visual display area for that process.
PWINT kaizen is not to be confused with point kaizen. Point kaizen is often thought be the wrong way to do kaizen, in that it sub-optimizes improvement activity in one area. An improvement at one “point” may or may not help the upstream and downstream processes, so that the kaizen is an apparent improvement only, not a true bottom-line improvement. An example of this would be if steps are removed in packaging a material in one process to save time and cost, only to result in damage or additional handling at the next process, resulting in added cost.
The PWNT kaizen worksheet is used to find kaizen ideas at the intra-process level. That is to say within a particular process, as opposed to how material flows from one process to another across a value stream. As a rule you should use one PWINT kaizen worksheet per process, with the starting point being material incoming and the end point being transportation of materials out of the area.
We designed this PWINT kaizen worksheet around discrete manufacturing operations. Feel free to change the items of observation within the PWINT categories. For example the notion of limiting vertical transportation would still apply to a warehousing and distribution operation (minimize stacking, handling) but it would be impractical to say “no racks or vertical storage” in a distribution center. Likewise some of the equipment-related items in Processing should be tailored when using this in healthcare or administrative operations.
If you do customize this document to another industry, please tell us about your innovations and we will post it here to share with everyone.