1. Train employees regarding kaizen, different kind of waste, etc.
2. Launch a tool, an Idea box in which suggestions from the employees will be collected.
3.Quarterly basis rewards will be given to best kaizen team.
What else should be done? What I want is that this process should be 100% right the first time because if it fails then it will be very difficult to proceed again after improving the Kaizen process.
Please give your suggestions.
Thanks for sharing your plans and allowing us to help, Ronak. Training the employees in kaizen and how to recognize and agree on different types of wastes is a great start. I can recommend the stand in the circle as a solid practical exercise, which article 1, article 2 and article 3 explain.
Now I would like to point out a few red flags in Ronak’s kaizen plan.
First, hold the thought on the idea box. Box-based suggestion systems fail more often then not for a variety of reasons, mainly due to lack of preparedness to manage and motivate kaizen suggestions. The box depersonalizes the suggestion and removes the responsibility of the supervisor or manager to engage with the team member within 24-48 hours to check and develop the idea into a workable kaizen. This assumes you have front line leaders capable of coaching problem solving, many times not the case. What’s an appropriate kaizen suggestion? Has this been clearly defined? How many ideas can you approve and implement in a week? If this number is less than the incoming number of kaizens you risk demotivating people.
Second, put more effort into recognition than reward. The pleasure from extrinsic rewards fades rather quickly. It is too easy for the leadership to give money or prizes for good ideas. The only commitment is a line item in the budget. Giving recognition requires actually understanding and appreciating the nature of the kaizens implemented, which in turn requires that leaders actually go see for themselves. The budget for recognition is just human will, which is unlimited. the positive impact of this intrinsic reward is far more lasting.
Third, trying to get kaizen “100% right the first time” is like saying you want to make and eat omelets every day yet never crack an egg. The whole idea of kaizen is to try, experience both success and failure, learn from both and try again. Being 60% right and doing something right away is better than being 100% right and starting sometime in the distant future. If you ever think you have achieved 100% that just means that you need to recalibrate your expectations. Someplace in the 95% to 98% range means you are constantly learning, raising your expectations and DOING KAIZEN!
While Ronak’s comment that “if it fails then it will be very difficult to proceed again” with kaizen may be true, it is essential to set the clear expectation that there will be stumbles and failures but we will not give up, before even starting with kaizen. If the kaizen system is not working well, this just means that the system itself needs kaizen. That is the essence of kaizen. When you are training employees on kaizen, make sure that you make this clear: kaizen is not about perfection but the pursuit of perfection. Do not let them get discouraged by failures, either in their personal ideas or in the overall kaizen system itself.
In fact, as long as you have the mindset that “not perfect is OK as long as we keep learning” the actual mechanics of your initial kaizen system are not that important. Why not give the suggestion box a try as a learning exercise?
I suspect part of the reason for wanting a “100%” implementation is that you need this in order to convince others in your organization to adopt and support kaizen. During the planning and preparation process for starting with kaizen, speak with various stakeholders to understand their concerns. Even if all of their concerns cannot be addressed during the initial implementation the simple fact of listening to them will make them less likely to resist actively.
Lastly, I would question the assumption that you have “successfully implemented 5S”. Does this mean you are all done and that it will sustain all by itself? Are there zero signs of backsliding? Are all abnormalities immediately visible thanks to the superior level of 5S? Use whatever level of 5S you have achieved and sustained as a baseline for further kaizen, and to expose future opportunities, but don’t STOP doing 5S in order to START doing kaizen. They are fully integrated, not separate tools that allow for mastery and moving on.
What other tips or advice do readers have on implementing kaizen smoothly?